2020 hindsight

Image of gloved superhero hands grouped in a circle as a team

It’s hard to know where to start when looking back at 2020. We’re all a bit shell-shocked, aren’t we? A year ago, images of Wuhan in lockdown were on the news; a curiosity that hardly seemed possible here. Here’s our take-away of what happened next for us and you, our community.

So, let’s start with you…

This year you have collectively directed your expertise to sort out how to get 🍱 food to shielding families, 📚get educational resources to socially disadvantaged children, 😷 get PPE to care homes, 🧪 get COVID test kits to schools, 🎗 get adults receiving social care into day centres, and 🧑🏼‍🦽 get special educational needs and disabled children into school.

You’ve planned new school routes for bubbles, ‘knitted extra buses over the weekend’, and generally been all round superheroes! 🦸🏽‍♀️

Extra support for planning tasks

Throughout, we have looked at ways to support you, both our customers and the wider planning community. In March we began offering additional QRoutes support and even temporary subscriptions free of charge to those working to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. That included local authorities and charities distributing school meals, food deliveries and other essential items to children, vulnerable households and others in need.

Downtime
A magnifying glass brings trees in a forest into sharp focus

In the midst of the distraction and ominous claustrophobia of the initial lockdown, we released a treasure hunt ‘quiz’. It was an opportunity for you to pursue something just for fun for a short while.

We planted trees for every successful completion. Well done to those of you that completed it. We have purchased one and a half acres in Argentina from the World Land Trust as a result.

Community forum

There was a strange duality to the summer month: a global urgency to do something coupled with a paralysis about what that should be.

In June, we ran a well-attended webinar on the future of school transport post-COVID, providing a forum for local authorities to share their response plans and discuss next steps.

Product developments

Meanwhile, we adapted QRoutes to make it easier to use for package deliveries, and we have released two new products.

  • A cut down version of QRoutes, QRoutes Lite, designed to meet the needs of smaller authorities. And
  • QPaths, a completely new tool for calculating safe walking route distances for a whole cohort in a flash.

We’re also delighted to be working with Pax Systems on an integrated database and finance solution – coming soon.

Welcome new customers

And despite the hiatus, we’ve welcomed new customers Cumbria, Cambridge and Peterborough, East Riding, Manchester, and Walsall.

Season’s greetings

As 2020 draws to a close, it promises to be a quiet holiday break. We send you our warmest wishes for a peaceful and contented time.

Happy Christmas 🎄✨