A SOFTWARE company has expanded its workforce as it celebrates financial success despite Covid – likely due to its tech for good ethos.

Arch, which has been around "in some form" for 14 years, has welcomed ten additional employees, from eight to 18, in the last 16 months and is 33 per cent up from April to September 2020 compared to the year prior.

Matthew O'Connor, director of business development at the Gateshead-based firm, says this is because of Arch's dedication to helping charities, universities and start ups use technology for efficiency but also to help people.

The software company adopted a 'tech for good' ethos, whereby they use and help others use technology to make positive change, after the success of its accessibility software ReciteMe.

ReciteMe, later spinning off into its own company, is a website customisation tool to allow people with dyslexia and other difficulties better access the internet. It changes fonts, colours and text size, while also having a speaker tool and built-in dictionary.

Mr O'Connor said: "We saw the impact of ReciteMe –it's so nice to see technology in the hands of those who need it. We are very much about tech with a purpose."

Arch is working with Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust to launch an online mental health platform for 12 to 18-year-olds in at-risk areas. This is expected to be rolled out nationally after the North-East pilot and will be used as part of the NHS' existing Trialblazers scheme.

Research on the impact of the pandemic by charity Mind found two three in four (75 per cent) of young people aged 13-24 with an existing mental health problem reported it had gotten worse during the pandemic.

Of those who tried to access NHS mental health services, 28 per cent were unable to get support.

The Trailblazers platform will include resources on wellbeing and mental health and provide a private zone for young people to access verified information and support.

The Northern Echo:

Mr O'Connor said: "When you work in this space, you see the positive impact your tech is having. This NHS project is giving children access to material and education, it's changing people's lives from a mental health perspective."

Arch is also working with health company Quieten to build a resource-driven app that help people who suffer from Tinnitus manage their symptoms.

Throughout lockdown, the company hosted free 'discovery sessions' with different charities to help them money saving techniques and generate fundraising ideas in the face of cancelled fundraisers like marathons.

Education has also been heavily disrupted by the pandemic, but e-learning startup Super Spellers is using Arch's expertise to create a game-based platform. This will support children learning new words, spelling and sounds after it was revealed one in four struggle with spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Mr O'Connor added: "I'm thrilled we've grown in terms of the team and year-on-year, given this quarter was during the peak of a pandemic and recession. Arch could have made cuts, but we are sensible and it's not all about profit and revenue."