Local Charities Day is about highlighting the work of small, local charities that are making remarkable differences to their communities.
The charity sector in the North East is characterised by small local charities and voluntary groups often working purely at neighborhood level and they are having a tough time at the moment as evidence is that demand has gone up in terms of the numbers of people needing support and also people are presenting with multiple and more complex issues.
For example we are seeing increases in people living in poverty, alongside that there will often be debt issues, depression and anxiety.
Local charities are also feeling the impact of the ‘austerity’ agenda with cuts to their funding and a recent survey found that those operating in the poorest areas of the north east are more likely to be in a weak financial position than those in the richest areas.
So many charitable organisations require support to adapt to the changing environment they operate in. We think that there is a gap to be filled in terms of helping the charitable sector access private sector expertise to develop the skills they need to survive and thrive.
Therefore on Local Charities Day we at VONNE are encouraging local businesses to support their local charities in any way they can. Support doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of sponsorship or donations, it can be about supporting them through giving a little bit of support to the charity in area where they need help such as:
• Encouraging staff to fundraise or to use payroll giving to donate to a local organisation;
• Supporting local community events with money or skills;
• Donating surplus products, equipment and materials;
• Making meeting rooms or spare places on in-house training schemes available to local community groups.
• Develop a long term support partnership with a local voluntary organisation and work to support them in a number of ways;
• Encourage and support staff to take part in a team challenge for a voluntary organisation (e.g. redecorating premises);
• Encourage staff to become a trustee of a voluntary organisation; more trustees with business skills are desperately needed
• Offer your staff’s time to provide professional advice and support free of charge to voluntary organisations in areas such as business planning, leadership mentoring, financial management, property management, human resources, marketing and communications, customer service, computing, health and safety, risk assessment, equality and diversity, legal issues – in short, just about anything a high performing business does on a daily basis.
• Can help you with staff retention, motivation and development. Volunteering can improve people’s wellbeing, confidence and skills; helping you nurture a healthy, happy workforce.
• Supports the community that supports you. Voluntary organisations keep money circulating locally and support the independence, resilience and confidence of the people they support.
• Helps you demonstrate your social value. In line with the Social Value Act, demonstrating your social value can support you to win public sector contracts.
Identifying a local charity- We are fortunate in the North East in that we have a number of brokerage organisations who can support various different types of skills sharing between business and local charities across the North East. There are also a number of infrastructure organisations at local level who support charitable organisations and volunteering and can signpost businesses to their local charities.
To find links to these organisations and more information and case studies on partnerships between local businesses and local charities go to www.NorthEastSkillsSharing.org.uk
No matter where you are in the region, what type of charities you want to support, and what type of support you can offer, we’re sure there’s an organisation on that list who can help you.