- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
Established in October 2007, Help for Heroes is a high-profile charity that raises money to support wounded, injured or sick members and veterans of the British Armed Forces. One of the most important milestones for the charity has been the creation of five UK wide Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centres (PRACs), to provide our wounded, injured and sick with a dedicated facility to support them in their recovery and rehabilitation.
The PRAC South is located at Tedworth House, a Grade 2* listed building within Super Garrison town of Tidworth in Wiltshire. The Ministry of Defence has owned the property since 1897 and it has been leased to Help for Heroes for £1 a year for the next 99 years. The charity embarked upon a major £20 million renovation project to preserve the heritage of the building and make it the ideal environment for up to 54 residents.
From day one, a major priority was making sure that the facility would be safe and secure of for all of the staff and residents, as Ian McFarlane, Head of Facilities at Tedworth House explains: “Our objective for Tedworth House was to create the perfect environment for the swift recuperation and recovery of everyone that uses it. So, the security of the facility and freedom of movement around it was an important consideration.”
Working closely with its procurement consultant, the charity went in search of an access control system and McFarlane outlines its requirements: “We needed a company with proven expertise in providing high-level access control and the right technology and skills to implement a system within the timescales we needed during the renovation.”
Following a review of the market, Help for Heroes selected TDSi, for its pedigree as a global leader in delivering fully integrated access control systems.
TDSi’s MICROgarde® networkable controllers were installed at 33 internal access points. Each member of staff and resident was then issued with a MIFARE card, which only provides them with access to areas they are authorised to enter. These robust and highly secure cards are simply presented at the access point and read by the controller’s Mifare Reader, using contactless technology. The person’s access rights are authenticated and depending on the outcome, the door is automatically unlocked, or remains shut.
As each controller is linked via an IP connection to the TDSi Exgarde™ PRO software, the team responsible for the safety and security of the facility are able to monitor and log every access request in real-time, as well as administrator the entire system from a single interface, whether onsite on or offsite. “Should an unauthorised attempt to gain entry take place, the team are able to review the situation and decide on the appropriate course of action,” adds McFarlane.
The installation of the entire fully integrated access control system was completed in several days, with TDSi providing free support as part of its commitment to the Help for Heroes charity. Commenting on the success of the project McFarlane states: “Using TDSi gives us convenient access control, reducing the potential for unauthorised entry. Many of our residents do not have full dexterity or would struggle to use a conventional key; the contactless nature of this system is a major benefit in this respect.”
Another major benefit to residents is the dual use of the MIFARE cards to deliver a cashless vending system. Each card can be loaded with a monetary value, meaning residents do not have the problem of needing to find money to pay for meals etc.
McFarlane concludes: “With the first two phases of the Tedworth House renovation completed, Help for Heroes looks forward to a long and successful working relationship with TDSi to create a safe and secure place for our servicemen and women.”