April 2020

Campaign to match Suffolk’s Voluntary Organisations with Businesses

Collaboration Will Help County’s Organisations Achieve More Through Pandemic

SUFFOLK’S business and voluntary sector community are being encouraged to come together as part of a county-wide campaign to help more organisations deliver their important work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Demand for charity and voluntary sector services has already begun to soar in the region, and companies based locally could play a vital role through delivering specific resource or skills.

Volunteering Matters and Community Action Suffolk are collectively calling for charities, groups and social enterprises to let them know of their specific ‘need’ at this critical time, and for business leaders to step forward with help in areas such as planning, IT, legal advice, logistics and media relations.

Already, Volunteering Matters has nationally engaged some 50 companies, who are able to offer everything from vehicle supply to project management. The appeal was launched on behalf of sector partners such as the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) and the National Council of Volunteering Organisations (NCVO).

Now they are calling for more East Anglian businesses to play their part.

Stephen Skeet, Director of Business Development and Impact, said: “At Volunteering Matters, we are so proud of the skills, passion and willingness of our Suffolk staff and volunteers to help our communities.

“At this time of crisis, collaboration has never been so important. That’s why we are working closely with our friends at Community Action Suffolk to share our knowledge, resources and business connections to get help safely to where it is needed most in our great County.”

Volunteering Matters is asking charities and voluntary organisations seeking urgent support, to participate in a survey to help them understand what specific need they have during Covid-19. Those keen to participate, should fill in their requirement with this short form.

Businesses are also encouraged to list how they would like to help. They can do so by completing the survey at: https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk/what-we-do/support-us/working-together/

Chris Abraham, CEO for Community Action Suffolk, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with Volunteering Matters on this important drive to unite the business and voluntary sector community.

“We already know that in this uncertain time, charities and other voluntary organisations are in huge demand and facing significant challenges around resource.

“As charities face increasing pressure and challenge through the crisis, and as those organisations then move into a recovery phase and seek to restore their position, we are keen to do all we can to support them through relationships with Suffolk-based businesses who can offer time, skill and resource.”

Community Action Suffolk and Volunteering Matters both have a long and successful record for creating successful partnership initiatives between charities and businesses, through Employee Volunteering Programmes.

Community Action Suffolk also works closely with the business sector through the Suffolk ProHelp scheme. This is a countywide network of businesses who provide professional and strategic support free of charge to voluntary and community groups.

Over the last year the scheme has provided professional support and expertise to 37 VCSE organisations equivalent to around £82,000 worth of support. It has also shared expert skills and knowledge through our Learning Lunches to 48 organisations on financial, strategic planning and legal issues.

St Elizabeth Hospice is one Suffolk-based charity which regularly welcomes employer supported volunteering.
Jemma Wood, the charity’s Volunteer Development Manager, commented “Throughout this period of uncertainty, community and business support is welcomed by organisations like ours even more than ever.
“Our corporate and volunteer teams would be delighted to discuss the opportunities we have that could support our patients, their families, as well as our staff and volunteers.”

Those interested in knowing more about employer supported volunteering, and potential partnership initiatives to help Suffolk’s VCSE sector during this time, should contact Community Action Suffolk or visit https://volunteersuffolk.org.uk/.