Western Community Centre

Manager Neil Tolan stands in front of Western Community Centre

Neil Tolan is an extremely busy man. As Manager for the thriving Western Community Centre in Hamilton, New Zealand, he oversees the huge range of essential health, well-being, and educational services the facility provides for Hamilton residents of all ages.

He and his team are also responsible for the comings and goings of 160 community groups, organizations, schools, and clubs who regularly use the facility. Countless community activities and events rely on the Centre as a safe venue. From Laughing Yoga, after school care, counseling services, and new mother groups, to learner license programs and performance groups – this place is constantly buzzing with activity.

With demand for hiring the venue increasing substantially, managing access and security for the Centre had become an expensive and time-consuming exercise.

“Each week thousands of people come through our doors. We regularly run out of space in our venue and our carpark seems to be always full.” says Neil.

Living in Raglan and managing the Centre in Hamilton meant that if Neil needed to let a group use the venue from 7am, he had to make an early half hour drive in - or share the pin code for the alarm system. The significant admin and costs associated with setting up new pin codes for different people meant the same codes were used multiple times which compromised the system. This simply was not scalable or secure given the expected growth in the Centre’s use.

With many groups using the Centre after-hours and at weekends, it was difficult to keep track of how long each group had been on site, and there was always the risk that someone would forget to set the alarm when they left.

Working on a tight budget, the monthly cost for a 3rd party alarm monitoring service combined with frequent false alarm callout fees became unmanageable. So Neil sought out a new solution and discovered Gallagher security for small and medium business (SMB).

Gallagher’s cloud-based solution made for a great business case which Neil presented to his board, who were quickly convinced.

The ability for Neil to use his smartphone from anywhere to manage the security system was a game changer.

The monthly subscription for the Software as a Service (SaaS) solution was significantly less than the monitoring and callout costs they were struggling with.

The Centre chose a base security alarm system which allows Site Managers to arm and disarm the alarm and manage incidents and users without keypads and pin codes. The app-based system means that Neil can now manage who can access certain areas of the Centre by assigning user permissions via his phone.

Community groups who use the venue can simply gain access with their smartphones using a reader installed at the entrance door. As the Gallagher SMB app requires the device to be set up with two-factor authentication, Neil knows that no one else can just pick up the phone and gain access. He uses a door schedule, ensuring the facility is secured once everyone has packed up and gone home at the end of the day.

Gallagher security for SMB has worked so well for Neil’s Community Centre that he recommended it to be installed in their sister centre, which can be managed from the same app.

Today, with less time and money spent on security admin, Neil is more than happy to focus his efforts on the Western Community Centre’s mission: To create opportunities and provide support that enhances the well-being of the people in its community.

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