Digital & IT

Two Dorset firms team up on new booking system for Dolphin disability boat

By the Dolphin boat in Poole Harbour are: Carol Cox, a trustee of The Friends of Dolphin; Pete Norris, left, Head of Design and Development at Uprated; and Lee Merrifield, MSP Capital’s Associate Director of Credit and a member of the firm’s community committee.

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: May 31, 2024 | Updated: 31st May 2024

The booking process for a boat which offers free trips around Poole Harbour for people with disabilities has been revamped thanks to a pair of Dorset companies.

Property finance specialist MSP Capital and digital marketing agency Uprated have jointly donated expertise and resource to build a new online system to help The Friends of Dolphin charity.

The aim is to make the process of booking the double-hulled catamaran which is specially adapted to carry passengers of all ages and disabilities – including those in wheelchairs – easier and smoother.

It comes as the boat’s main season begins, with regular sailings available through to the end of September.

The Dolphin is the only boat in Poole Harbour to offer free trips to people with disabilities.

The two firms have together provided the new booking solution to the charity free of charge.

IT experts at Uprated, a trusted supplier to MSP Capital, reconfigured server capability to enable automated messaging and reminders as part of an improved booking experience.

MSP Capital’s input on the funding side falls under the lender’s environmental, social and governance strategy, Foundations for Better Futures.

The community-giving part of the strategy is run by a dedicated community committee which has a budget to coordinate fundraising initiatives for charities and good causes.

Lee Merrifield, MSP Capital’s Associate Director of Credit and a committee member, said: “The Dolphin is the only boat in Poole Harbour to offer free trips to people with disabilities. Its activity is right on our doorstep.

“When we heard The Friends of Dolphin were looking for help with their booking system, we were only too happy to do our bit.

“A big element of Foundations for Better Futures is support for our local community and the charities that operate in it.”

Uprated’s coding and development work was done in the run-up to the season in collaboration with Carol Cox, a trustee of The Friends of Dolphin whose responsibilities include membership and bookings.

Pete Norris, Head of Design and Development at Uprated, said both firms understood that The Friends of Dolphin are a small team and all work as volunteers.

He said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in this project with MSP Capital and The Friends of Dolphin. It’s all about improving the booking experience for users.

“We hope the work we’ve done automating the system will continue to give Carol and her team stress-free bookings for years to come.”

Thanking both firms, Carol said: “The new online booking system is exactly what we needed. Clients are finding it extremely simple to use, the diary is always up to date, and it has cut down my work enormously. It has been a pleasure to work with MSP and Uprated who made the whole process very straightforward.”

For more information on The Friends of Dolphin and to book the boat, visit https://www.thefriendsofdolphin.co.uk/.

Founded in 1981, MSP Capital is a principal development and bridging lender, offering solutions for sums up to £20 million.

For more information on Foundations for Better Futures, visit www.mspcapital.co.uk/betterfutures.

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