Creating a custom web application for our local charity organisation

Executive Summary

Black Pepper did some work with a local charity, Helping Hands, during their 2019 Hackathon. Together we created the prototype Rota App which the charity used to manage their volunteer workforce.

In Summer 2020, the prototype app had been used successfully for 12 months and the Black Pepper Board signed off another phase of work to:

  • Add new features that Helping Hands had requested
  • ‘Harden’ the application so it could be supported and used long-term

Helping Hands is a charity built around local people helping local people in need. They work with the most vulnerable people in our community and run a soup kitchen, supported by local businesses, that provides thousands of meals to the community every month.

Challenges and Objectives

The charity runs a soup kitchen and shops, all of which are staffed by a pool of over 100 volunteers.

Historically, matching volunteers with the kitchen and the shops were managed manually by the charity’s administrative staff. As their volunteer base grew, they were able to perform more work, and they were soon matching volunteers up with over 200 volunteers a month.

This was time-consuming and error-prone.


Black Pepper worked to create a simple web application with Helping hands. It allows Helping Hands staff to define volunteer events that they need people for.

Volunteers use the same application to log in, view volunteer opportunities and put their name down to volunteer.

We built the app so that it would work well on large-screen laptops and PC (for the administrators) and also on mobile devices (for the volunteer users).


Black Pepper built an easy and intuitive app that allows Operations Manager and volunteers to save a significant amount of time, manage efficiently different roles, well reducing error margin.

This lets the Helping Hands staff free up time to work on other activities.

Users of the system can easily see what they could volunteer for, to volunteer, and then see a calendar view of what they’re required they’ve signed up for, all without having to call Helping Hands. Users have a single clear view of both when they’re volunteering, and what else they could be volunteering for.

This platform is an absolute game-changer. It's reducing administrative work and is saving a significant amount of time in terms of contacting our volunteers about what is and isn’t required.

Operations Manager, Helping Hands Community Project

Next Steps

Black Pepper intends to support the ‘Rota App’ for long term use at Helping Hands. We’d also love to develop it further and add some more sophisticated features.

HH Rota App

Read Helping Hands Community Project Clutch review here