Streamlined connectivity saves £100k for One Manchester.

One Manchester: provider of housing and community services — approximately 12,000 homes in central, south, and east Manchester.


One Manchester is a provider of housing and community services. Formed in April 2015 from a historic merger between two of Manchester’s largest housing associations – City South and Eastlands Homes – they currently own and manage more than 12,000 homes in central, south and east Manchester.

Their aim is to provide good quality homes that are safe, secure, warm and affordable.


As a longstanding customer, Central has provided IT support for the team at One Manchester for a decade. And with an enhanced understanding of the business’s infrastructure, having already supported the company through a merger process between two of Central’s clients, the team was keen to be in the running when a new brief emerged. 

With the joining of two social housing providers, the company recognised an overspend on a mix of connectivity solutions. Therefore, having sought recommendations from an external consultant, One Manchester was eager to amalgamate its provision — reducing network complexity and cost in the process. 

To address these areas of improvement, the business invited recommendations from organisations with an interest in completing the work. Having passed the shortlisting exercise, Central was selected to enter a tender process. Proving successful, it was appointed to deliver the work — commencing in December 2021.

Ian Duncalf, operations team lead at One Manchester, comments:

“We’ve worked alongside the team at Central for more than a decade, so we trust them implicitly. They know our systems inside out and, as a result, their advice and recommendations during the tender process were spot on. They were a natural choice when it came to selecting a provider to overhaul our connectivity solutions, and their work continues to be highly regarded.”


Central’s proposed solution was to install Cisco Meraki as a means to simplify the network and regain control.  

With reducing costs and complexity of the organisation’s connectivity solutions a priority, Central replaced the entire existing multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network and migrated the company’s infrastructure across to a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). 

In addition to providing the initial hardware recommendations and installation, the team required connectivity at each of its 43 sites. With no one-size-fits-all solution, the technology is subject to continuous monitoring and management from the team at Central — which runs in tandem with the first, second, and third-line support services. 

"“My assessment of Central over the years has always been that they’re big enough to cope but small enough to care — the perfect combination for us. If we have a problem, they’ll drop everything to help. You don’t get that kind of service everywhere. They’ve always been open and honest with us about any challenges, and we know that we can rely on them as an extension of our team — whenever we need them.”

Ian Duncalf, operations team lead, One Manchester

Despite a shortage of equipment due to the pandemic, and factoring in market testing, tendering and a major refurbishment works — the majority of the project is now live. The cost savings achieved by the exercise are estimated to be in the region of £100k. 

With an SD-WAN in place, the team can make changes and decisions over the network without being governed by a route/switch processor (RSP). Instead, the organisation has increased flexibility with the added benefit of reduced overheads. 

The switch has enabled the migration of One Manchester’s infrastructure to public cloud, with all systems in Microsoft Azure and accessible through Cisco Meraki. 

Central is now able to effectively prioritise different kinds of traffic on behalf of One Manchester, adding internet lines and quickly increasing speeds with ease — without the need to consult an internet service provider. 

John Blackburn, operations director, at Central Networks and Technologies, comments:

“We’re proud to have worked alongside One Manchester for a decade and we were delighted to have been selected to deliver their connectivity overhaul. While it was a complex migration across more than 40 sites, any bumps in the road were dealt with seamlessly – thanks to the strong relationship which exists between our teams. 

“We’re looking forward to working with One Manchester long into the future – and continuing to see the positive impact that our work is having upon the organisation’s success.”

If you are looking for flexible, customer-focused IT support, why not contact our team of experts to discuss your requirements?
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