AN IT firm which connected people with advice services in Southampton during lockdown has secured £250,000 to do the same across Hampshire.

Allteks secured the investment to allow more people to access Local Citizens Advice (LCA) services, previously called Citizens Advice Services.

It installed its first hub at Southampton City Library under a pilot scheme and more are to follow across the county.

The hubs are single-person rooms, allowing people to use a computer with a video conferencing platform, Vectera, installed. The software allows them to talk to a member of the service who is working from home.

Don Iro, chief executive of Allteks, said: “Not only will this help reduce contact and help keep Covid numbers low, but it brings so many more benefits with it. The topic of lowering emissions is very big at the moment, so with more working from home this will help the LCAs on their journey to net zero, which will be another huge benefit.”

The money will be used for the installation of the hubs and a digital service including managed IT, print and back office needs, allowing the services to pay it back over several months.

Mr Igo said: “This will hopefully be very helpful in easing the financial load for the services. It’s important that LCAs have financial support as it is such an important service to have installed that shouldn’t be held off until they need funding. It’s important to us to make this as accessible as possible.

“It’s great to see the scheme coming to life and hearing the stories about how real people have been helped as a result. It’s rewarding for us and beneficial for them, so hopefully long will it continue.”

The funding has come out of a partnership between Allteks and office solutions firm Deos. The two companies work together to provide businesses with IT support and managed printing services.

Peter Robertson, senior head of business development at Deos, said: “After supporting a number of local LCAs over the past 15 years it is good to see this facility come to life as the services that all Citizens Advice offices deliver is so important to the community even more so during Covid.

“We are proud to have forged this partnership with Don and his staff as we are seeing real results and smiling faces which have been missing in recent years.”

Annabella Crawford, chief executive at Citizen’s Advice Eastleigh, said: “The Deos Group and Allteks have been hugely generous with their time and expertise, helping our service deliver critical services to our community and providing extra support to our hardworking volunteers.”