TruStack raises enough money to help dozens of parents keep in touch with poorly babies during the pandemic

TruStack has raised enough money to enable dozens of parents to keep in virtual contact with their poorly babies on a Newcastle hospital ward – despite all of its fundraising events being cancelled by Covid-19.

In 2019, IT Managed Services business TruStack vowed to its charity of the year, the Tiny Lives Trust, that it would raise enough money to help fund its vCreate service.

vCreate allows parents and families to receive real-time, video updates on their premature and poorly babies at the Neonatal Unit at the RVI Hospital.

Little did TruStack know that the service would prove even more vital after its pledge, with restrictions meaning much more contact between families and their little loved ones was carried out virtually.

However, restrictions also meant that TruStack had to cancel its fundraising events for Tiny Lives, which included a family fun day and sponsored walk in 2020.

But thanks to some inventive virtual fundraising events and ideas, the Cramlington-based business still brought in a staggering £7,200 – enough money to have funded Tiny Lives’ use of the service during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rachel Hardwick, Funding and Partnerships Officer at Tiny Lives, said: “Being able to see videos from the ward of their little ones has been absolutely vital for parents who have been isolating, and when there have been restrictions on visiting.

“It has always been an important service, but it has really come into its own during the pandemic.

“TruStack has been absolutely phenomenal in its support of our charity. The company has managed to continue fundraising in such inventive ways to keep up its pledge, and we are so grateful.

“It would have been easy for them to say ‘sorry, we have our own stuff going on, we’ll see you when the pandemic is over’, but they didn’t. They went above and beyond to make sure they could keep raising money for us.”

Tiny Lives has supported 371 families over the past three years, sending 1,123 videos and 2,651 photos in that time. It has also supplied iPads and accessories to the Unit.

One mum, Clare, said of the vCreate service: “The first time I saw my baby open his eyes was through a photo that was sent to me via vCreate and I will treasure this forever. Having that facility on the unit is invaluable for parents.”

The partnership between TruStack and Tiny Lives came about after the charity helped two of the company’s directors through difficult times.

Both Paul Watson and Russell Henderson were supported by the charity, and the pair have been wanting to pay it back ever since.

Paul’s daughter Niamh, now 20, spent over a month in the Neonatal Unit when she was born five weeks prematurely, weighing just 3lbs.

Dad-of-two Paul said: “Having a baby is stressful enough but when unexpected events happen and your new-born needs medical assistance it is terrifying. 

“When my daughter was born prematurely, Tiny Lives provided first-class care for the first few weeks of her life.  The staff could not do enough to help my daughter as well as myself and my wife. 

“We feel very grateful for the care they provided many years ago and very much wanted to give something back. 

“As an IT company, the vCreate system seemed like a natural choice; using technology to help families keep in touch and see their babies when they may not be able to physically get to the ward during potentially difficult times.”

Russell’s son Mattie, now 12, spent around seven weeks in the RVI when he was born.

Russell said: “The service offered to us at the time by Tiny Lives when my son was in SCBU helped take a part of the stress out of the situation, and when babies have major complications, any help in reducing the stress is welcome. 

“I know what it is like to spend long periods of time in hospital with a poorly baby.  For those parents who live a long distance from the hospital and their child is in hospital for a long period of time, this service is invaluable.  We are proud to be able to support Tiny Lives “

TruStack has enabled hundreds of businesses to implement ‘Hybrid Working’ over the past 18 months, so employees are able to work from any location, not just the office.

It has also carried out many digital transformation projects over the last two years for leading North East businesses such as Sintons LLP, Ryder Architecture, Montane, and Vantec to name but a few.

Meanwhile, it has continued its long association with several of the North East’s Top 200 companies – including Muckle LLP and Collingwood Business Solutions – as well as big names across the UK such as the Premier League and Vertu Motors.

TruStack has its head office at Northumberland Business Park, Cramlington, and a branch office at the Evolve Business Centre, Houghton le Spring.

For more information on TruStack go to or call 0191 250 3000.

In Conversation With… TruStack & VMware

Five reasons to source VDI through TruStack & VMware

There have been a few false starts over the years with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), but over the last 18 months, the use case for VDI has become much stronger.

The technology itself has come on leaps and bounds compared to the days when agile working was feasible for just a small subset of office-based, application-based workers. So, why should you consider investing in VDI now and why should you work with TruStack and VMware to implement it?

  1. There are far more workloads and use cases we can address now with VDI. In the past, high end graphics workloads, voice calling, and video conferencing were a struggle. But with the advent of NVIDIA graphics cards, better profile management and protocol optimisation it’s now possible to put almost any workload on a virtual desktop and provide a near office-based experience to the end user. All the features and integrations you would expect are there, and there are far fewer restrictions.
  2. Agility within a business isn’t just about being able to work remotely: it’s about being able to move quickly to new markets, recruit from new locations, change your software layers almost overnight, and bring in new ways of working. If you’re allowing people to work the hours that suit them, from wherever they are, you need a conversation not only about VDI, but about mobile workspaces – working from a phone or tablet. There are questions about security that you need to consider before you even think about on-prem versus cloud.
  3. The value an experienced MSP like TruStack brings is the ability to tie all components together. We define your solution holistically, from initial consultation and proof of concept to ongoing support and management. We’re technically led, so our technical director assesses which products in a vendors’ stack are suitable and we test them internally before bringing them to market. We can even spin up a Horizon VDI environment in a couple of days so you can get hands on with it before committing.
  4. Being able to control, manage and maintain your desktops from a centralised location takes many of the pain points of IT admin away. We talk about user experience, but your IT department’s experience is important too. A move to VDI brings most of their day-to-day challenges within easy reach in the data centre. VMware have also added Horizon Assist, so IT support can easily connect to anyone’s desktop session. Some organisations are even using this as an onboarding tool for new remote starters.
  5. Every managed service provider will claim to be different, but it’s true that TruStack have been involved in the delivery of VMware’s Horizon-based solutions for many years and been shortlisted for several awards over that time. Over 13 years we’ve developed a strong working relationship with VMware as a vendor that brings tangible benefits to you as the end customer.

Watch TruStack in conversation with VMware here for further insights here.

For more information about our agile working and VDI solutions, get in touch here.

In Conversation With … TruStack & VMware

Can agile working and VDI work for you?

We recently talked in our ‘In Conversation With…’ series about the changes we’ve seen in the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) marketplace over the last decade, and how TruStack – in partnership with VMware – can make sure agile and hybrid working works for your business. This post covers some of the highlights, but make sure to check out the video for more insights.

VDI advances

When VDI first emerged, there was an expectation it would be the same kind of panacea for desktops that virtualisation had been for servers. Of course, reality turned out to be more complicated. However, since March 2020, the use case for VDI has gained momentum. Covid-19 acted as a global proof of concept of the benefits of VDI and virtualised applications, and the technology itself has evolved massively.

Just a few years ago, high memory, high CPU usage workloads like Petrel and CATIA did not typically work well in a virtualised environment. But close partnerships between VMware and the likes of NVIDIA mean almost any workload can now go onto a virtual desktop and provide a close to office-like user experience. There’s also been a big push to provide support for voice and video calling. Agile working with VDI is no longer for just a small subset of office-based, application-based workers.

Workplaces adapt

Now, more companies are embracing remote working and remote recruiting, allowing employees to travel more and work the hours that suit them, so long as they are productive. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and certainly, Covid-19 meant a lot of VDI projects progressed much more quickly than they would otherwise.

Our implementation of Beyond Housing’s VMware VDI solution was already well underway in late 2019. The organisation wanted to manage its desktops more centrally. As always, we first consulted to ensure the technology was a good fit before performing a proof of concept. The solution was deployed by April 2020, so Beyond Housing were able to make good use of their investment when they really needed it – as the pandemic hit. We also provide an ongoing proactive support contract to prevent issues before they arise.

Read more about our work with Beyond Housing.

Could it work for you?

It’s not a case of one-size-fits every organisation. Every deployment is different. But one of the real advantages VDI brings is the ease of management. For example, VMware has now added Horizon Assist to their solution, which means your support team can connect to any desktop session and work as if they’re standing alongside a remote user to fix a problem.

Technology advancements in VDI are about making life easier for the IT staff running the environment, making businesses more agile and productive, and making sure user experience is at least as good as in their best environment. With the help of VMware Horizon, TruStack is seeing more people get that all-round experience.

Watch TruStack in conversation with VMware here.

To find out how VDI could work for you, get in touch here.

Case Study | Karbon Homes

Read our latest case study with Karbon Homes by downloading the PDF below.

Karbon Homes build, manage and look after affordable homes for people across the North. It gives them the strong foundations they need to crack on with life.

Since 2017, Karbon Homes has focused on delivering on three strategic aims – to provide as many good quality homes as it can, to deliver excellent service to customers and to shape strong, sustainable places for communities. The Karbon Homes footprint covers the North East of England and Yorkshire, with almost 30,000 homes across diverse communities, all facing different opportunities and challenges.

Karbon Homes always make the effort to understand its customers. Some customers just need an affordable home, or a way onto the property ladder. Others might need more – financial advice, community services, sheltered accommodation or even training that can lead to a new job.

Whatever people need to feel more secure, confident and happy with where they’re at, Karbon Homes work its heart out to provide it

Case Study | Beyond Housing

Read our latest Beyond Housing by downloading the PDF below.

Established in 2018, Beyond Housing is one of the largest registered housing providers in the North East and North Yorkshire. With its regional offices in Redcar and Scarborough, the organisation is responsible for the letting, management and maintenance of over 15,000 homes and a wide range of services to over 30,000 customers across the North East and North Yorkshire.

Beyond Housing is committed to going beyond the bricks and mortar to help its communities and region thrive. By providing quality homes people want to live in alongside valuable additional services delivered by passionate people who want to help, Beyond Housing contributes to the prosperity, wider regeneration and sustainability of its communities, creating neighbourhoods that will flourish well into the future.