North East Skills Sharing

For businesses

A significant number of charitable organisations need support to adapt to the changing environment they operate in. Supporting your staff to volunteer can benefit your business as well as these organisations and their beneficiaries. We think that there is a gap to be filled in terms of helping the charitable sector access private sector expertise and develop the skills they need to survive and thrive.

This is where you come in.

About the charitable sector in the North East

The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector is extremely diverse, and includes multi-national charities, local community groups and everything in between. There are more than 15,000 organisations in the sector in the North East tackling a range of issues including disability, health problems, poverty, worklessness, isolation, discrimination, and homelessness, working with people of all ages and in all corners of the region.

Political and economic changes have led to increasing demand on the sector. Frontline organisations traditionally funded by the public sector are being challenged with a shift away from grants towards contracts, commissioning and tendering, as well as taking on buildings, social investment and finding new ways of generating income.

Why should your business help?

We think that skills sharing…

… is the right thing to do. The North East is a philanthropic, caring, interconnected region with a unique sense of place and a tradition of self-help.

… helps you to act responsibly, and to show it.

… 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.

… supports the 3 day pledge The last Conservative manifesto included a commitment that, in time, employees of large firms will be entitled to three ‘volunteering leave’ days per year

… helps you with the bottom line! For all the reasons mentioned above, and more besides.

How can your business help?

There are many ways in which businesses can support local voluntary organisations but the most useful thing you can do is to share your business expertise with organisations that lack specific skills. You could:

  • Offer your staff’s time to provide professional advice and support free of charge to voluntary organisations. This could include support with:
    Strategic planning
    Business planning
    Leadership mentoring
    Financial management
    Property management
    Human resources
    Marketing and communications
    Customer service
    Health and safety
    Risk assessment
    Equality and diversity
    Legal issues
    In short, just about anything a high-performing business does on a daily basis.
  • Encourage staff to become a trustee of a voluntary organisation;
  • 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);
  • Offer direct support to beneficiaries of voluntary organisations e.g. helping with interview skills or CV-writing;
  • Make meeting rooms or spare places on in-house training schemes available to local community groups;

If you can’t do these what about :

  • Encouraging staff to fundraise or to use payroll giving to donate to a local organisation;
  • Donating surplus products, equipment and materials;
  • Making meeting rooms or spare places on in-house training schemes available to local community groups.
Interested? Find organisations that can help

Case studies

Monkseaton Plastering

Monkseaton Plastering

Brian Lumsden is the proprietor of Monskeaton Plastering Services, an independent, North Tyneside business. Many of North Tyneside’s voluntary and community groups are responsible for premises, ranging from scout huts to community centres. The repair, maintenance and renovation of these properties often involve the staff and trustees of these groups in an unfamiliar field. Since getting involved with Sector Connector, Brian has been able to use his contacts in the local building trade to factor in specialist pro bono support for local groups including surveyors, architects, project managers and contractors.

“On a personal level, being involved in Sector Connector has allowed me to give something back to the community and as a business it shows people that I am a reputable company.”