Maureen Johnston

Finalist category: IT Volunteer of the Year Award


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IT Volunteer of the Year, Winner, 2016

In 2013, Maureen offered a few days of her spare time to help the newly established charity, The Silver Line with their national launch and to help set up the IT systems it needed. Three years later, Maureen still volunteers with The Silver Line helpline, but now as the full-time Director of Information Systems. An unpaid role which has changed the way the entire organisation is run, and how it supports lonely older people. She has guided the organisation’s progress and development, and has almost single-handedly established all of the IT, communications and telephone systems that support The Silver Line’s volunteering activities across the country.

Maureen implemented a Virtual Call Centre (VCC) solution which allows The Silver Line’s volunteer telephone friends to call an older person, free and in safety, from their own homes, with around 2,500 calls a week being made through the system. She was instrumental in changing the design of the system so that it is as easy to use as pressing a button, saving massively on training costs. This also means that volunteers with limited or no IT abilities can use it to make their calls and it can be used by volunteers with disabilities.

She has also overseen the installation and implementation of a CRM system which protects potentially vulnerable individual’s details and underpins all the support the charity gives to older people.

The charity is soon to relocate their Blackpool helpline, and Maureen will be overseeing the implementation of a new and robust telephony system so that people can continue to call us 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Examples of how The Silver Line helpline helps people

Maureen says, “I wanted to do something worthwhile to help older people. But I never imagined being able to make such a difference through IT to so many people. I’m so proud that one of our oldest volunteers is 92, and continues to make weekly calls to his friend using our system which truly supports a friendship and enables anyone to volunteer for us.”

The Silver Line helpline receives around 10,000 calls a week from lonely and isolated older people, and there are a further 2,500 calls each week between a Silver Line volunteer telephone friend and an older person using the virtual call centre. Maureen’s contribution has underpinned the establishment of The Silver Line, and is fundamental to how the organisation supports lonely and isolated older people.

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