Our December blog has become a time to reflect on our year, to tie up in our minds what we’ve achieved before we close the door for the festive season. So, grab a cuppa and enjoy a whistle-stop tour of our 2023…
From the very early days of building our business, we knew that we wanted Olamalu to stand for more than just its day-to-day operation. We wanted to use our energy, experience, knowledge, time and money to help people, organisations, charities and the world around us and this commitment runs alongside and through the heart of the values that make up Olamalu.
These values are brought to life every year in many different ways including the opportunities we provide young people starting in tech, the time and technical expertise we give to local charities, the organisations and networks we volunteer with as well as by donating money to causes which are close to our hearts.
This year, the cost of living crisis has affected so many people, so we were keen to help several local community charities:
- The Collective Business Fund was set up by The Oxfordshire Community Foundation and collects donations from businesses to help fund services for those in need. We were pleased to become a business donor and help to make a difference in our local county with money being turned into grants for food parcels, warm spaces, debt advice and support for families, the homeless, those suffering with their mental health and those who have suffered sexual abuse.
- Homelessness is an ongoing issue in all of our communities but is heightened in this new economic crisis so we felt it was important for us to become a corporate sponsor for Homeless Oxfordshire.
- The Witney Baby Bank is a charity in our hometown which encourages the donation of essential baby items which it then re-distributes to families in need. We were really happy to help by building The Witney Baby Bank a website to help them to reach out and communicate their cause far and wide, as a donation in kind.
- We were involved earlier this year with Got2B Youth Services, but unfortunately, as with many Youth Services, they have had to close…
- We continue to support Oxford Preservation Trust as a corporate member, supporting their work to look after Oxford’s heritage and green spaces and preserve and shape this wonderful city, as well as running the ever-popular Oxford Open Doors event.
- Our final community-focused activity was the sponsorship of a Christmas exhibition at The Old Fire Station Art Gallery in Oxford. It’s great to be able to support local work that can provide enrichment to so many.
Biodiversity and climate change are two huge areas that we are keen to do more in. So, in 2023 we got involved in two areas:
- Project Seagrass. Seagrass meadows are critical to all life on the planet, housing delicate ecosystems and providing carbon storage. Their existence is being threatened so we supported Project Seagrass with a donation to help them to continue their vital work.
- Africa holds a special place in our hearts with its unique wildlife and incredible landscape. When we heard about the East Africa Wildlife Society and its work with schools by introducing children to the importance of conservation and sustainable use of our environment, we were keen to get involved in some way. We paid for a school in Kenya to become a member and they are now enjoying being part of this brilliant programme.
- Much closer to home, we have also donated to support the work of the Wychwood Forest Trust in their mission to restore and preserve the unique cultural and ecological heritage of the Wychwood Forest area, which covers much of the beautiful countryside around our base in Witney.
We’re grateful for another year of varied, interesting projects and technical challenges to solve, as well as the opportunity to work with some fascinating and lovely people.
To name but a few, this year we’ve worked on projects for:
- The Department of Land Economy at The University of Cambridge
- The Oxford Department of International Development
- Christ Church College for whom we build a new website and intranet
- Oxford Archaeology
- School of Geography at the University of Oxford
This year saw us take on some new technical challenges through a variety of projects:
- A reference implementation site which will form the foundation of a larger multi-website project with a strong focus on design details and ease of use for users to provide the best possible accessible website experience.
- Providing technical functionality for a client who services the travel industry so that their customers can plug into their own websites and enable the end traveller to make reservations more easily.
- An app that provides research data to child health professionals working on the ground around the world. The app allows the professional to assess childhood health against the latest research data.
- Other projects included an online magazine, process workflow functionality, integration to SharePoint, display screens, complex data migration and more.
We're happy to report that we’ve successfully upgraded all of our Drupal 9 customers to Drupal 10 (which was no mean feat!) and are proud to say that this was undertaken in a way that kept the environment secure but ensured that our customers weren’t affected.
Security is a continual focus for us and this year we threw ourselves into the challenge of becoming ISO/IEC 27001 certified (the world's best-known standard for information security management systems).
We welcomed two new members this year and can say, hand on heart that the whole team continues to make us proud. We pull together to achieve solutions to difficult technical challenges and produce brilliant outcomes to help the organisations we work for operate more efficiently and in turn, helping them to meet their own objectives
The cherry on the cake? We all enjoyed a cuddle with Support Manager Erika’s newborn baby.
We hope that 2023 was everything that you wanted it to be. As you prepare to close your doors to enjoy a break over the festive season, why not take some time to reflect on your own year and all that you have achieved?
We wish you all a relaxing break and a happy and healthy 2024.
See you in the new year
The team at Olamalu x