Gingerbread Corner, which is located in Croydon, Surrey, was England’s first latchkey scheme. It was established in 1976 with the objective of providing quality childcare for single parents of children aged between 5-11 after school and during school holidays. 37 years later, Gingerbread Corner has evolved and grown. It now provides year-round child-care for more than 160 children between the ages of 3 months and 11 years.
An existing outdated analogue CCTV system needed to be replaced. Apart from the fact that there were just four cameras which only allowed the monitoring of entrances and exits, the quality of the images captured and recorded were not of sufficient quality to be of any practical use if and when an incident needed to be investigated.
As a registered Charity, Gingerbread Corner relies heavily on its fund-raising activities to maintain and improve its facilities, as well as employing 40 members of staff. Despite concerns over significant funding gaps following the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, Gingerbread Corner’s management were determined to allocate sufficient capital for the installation of an effective replacement video surveillance system.
“There are so many potential situations where access to high quality video evidence can help protect the children in our care and also verify that our staff has at all times professionally carried out their duties,” said Ben Dzendzera, Gingerbread Corner’s operations manager. “For example, with so many children living in single parent environments, we can avoid any disputes by being able to monitor, and if necessary verify, who has collected a child from our premises. Equally important, we can quickly resolve any issues which might arise through accusations of one child bullying another and we have a duty of care towards our staff to ensure they can be protected against any false accusations.”
Dzendzera invited a number of different companies to recommend a solution that would meet both Gingerbread Corner’s current and future needs. He added: “It was clear that we immediately needed approximately 20 cameras in order to be able to monitor all activity throughout the site, but we also wanted to ensure that the system we invested in could continue to be expanded if and when our requirements changed.”
Some of the quotations received provided for the new system to be analogue based, but Ben and his colleagues decided to take the advice offered by Frankie Bellavia, a Director of Coulsdon based video surveillance and public address specialists Postfield Systems, who recommended that Gingerbread Corner should choose an IP network based system.
An analogue system would have provided Gingerbread Corner with a slightly lower cost option, but the justification for allocating the extra capital for an IP network based system was easily made. “One of the key advantages of choosing a Video over IP solution is that it is very flexible in terms of how it can be monitored,” said Ben. “Live or recorded images can be viewed by any authorised member of staff who has access to the Internet. I personally use the Samsung Net-i Viewer software on my laptop to view the video of any incidents, whilst senior management can access the system via smartphone when they are off site.”
A total of 21 Samsung cameras have been installed, 16 of which are SND-3082 Day/Night network domes. These utilise Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) technology making them ideal for locations where there may be strong contrasting lighting conditions. The SND-3082 features Power over Ethernet (PoE) which means that both power and video/audio transmissions can be provided via a single Ethernet cable connected to Gingerbread Corner’s network. This has resulted in costs being kept to a minimum as there wasn’t a need for coaxial cable to be run to each of the 21 cameras. The five other cameras are Samsung SNO-1080Rs which are weatherproof cameras, have built in IR lighting and feature PoE. The SNO-1080R is part of a range of cameras which was designed to provide a cost effective network video surveillance solution for small to medium size applications. Both models offer multiple streaming with a choice of compression methods, providing the option to simultaneously transmit images to multiple locations at various frame rates and at different resolutions. This allows different authorised users to monitor live images at one location, whilst recording video evidence at another.
The images from all of the cameras are recorded on one of two SRN-1670D network video recorders which have been designed to be user friendly in that they have the look and familiarity of a DVR.
Dzendzera stated: “As a non-profit organisation it is difficult to show a return on investment, but there is no doubt that the video surveillance system has given us peace of mind in knowing that if any serious incident takes place we can verify exactly what has happened by being able to retrieve the recorded video.”