THOUSANDS of Army families in North Yorkshire could find it easier to register for events thanks to the expertise of a local higher education establishment.

Teesside University’s School of Computing was approached by Catterick Garrison Community Group for advice on how to replace its paper-based booking system with digital registration while also meeting the MOD’s stringent security specifications.

Students devised potential solutions before senior lecturers Barry Hebbron and Myriam Mallet worked on a consultancy basis to design a web-based application, resulting in a proof-of-concept system which has been submitted to the MOD. If approved, the system could be rolled out to similar organisations across British Army sites around the world.

Based within the Army Welfare Service at Catterick Garrison, the Community Group serves more than 13,000 personnel, military, civilian and their families, living and working in the area.

Barry said: “This was a very demanding brief. Because this is a system which will be used exclusively by the families of serving military personnel it would naturally contain a great deal of sensitive information and security was paramount.

“Building a run-of-the-mill booking system was not an option; we had to design a bespoke system which would conform exactly to the specifications laid out.”

Community support development worker Neil Brimer said that it was “excellent” working alongside Teesside University, adding: “This was something that would never have got started without the support of the staff.

“We needed a flexible partner who would be able to adapt to the challenge and work to our framework and timescale. The university was extremely helpful and got us into a position where we can now think seriously about how to digitise our processes.”

To celebrate the success of the project, deputy Brigade Commander Colonel Andrew Hadfield presented a commemorative plaque which was received on behalf of the University by head of knowledge exchange, Dr Geoff Archer.

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