North East Skills Sharing

For charities

The operating environment for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations is changing faster than ever before. Political and economic changes have led to increased demand on the sector combined with diminishing resources.

Frontline organisations are grappling with ‘contracts not grants’, ‘fewer, larger contracts’, commissioning and tendering and increasing competition for grants, and issues like TUPE, asset transfer and social investment.

Can businesses help?

Businesses want to help and already have helped numerous VCSE organisations across the North East. However we think there’s a bigger role for the local private sector to play in helping you through skills-sharing.

There are many ways in which businesses can support VCSE organisations but the most useful is to share their expertise with organisations that lack specific skills. For example, they could:

  • Offer advice and support free of charge. 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 trustees
  • 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

What to consider before asking for support

We’d advise you to spend some time thinking through exactly what you need (and want) from businesses. Ask yourself:

  • What kind of professional advice do you need? Strategic planning, 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 are just some of the areas we’ve identified and you can get help with.
  • Do you need one-off support or are you looking for a longer-term approach? This could include on-going support from highly-skilled business people that might go as far as leading to formal arrangements such as trusteeship.
  • Do you want businesses to support your organisation itself, you as a leader, or the people you serve?
  • Do you want businesses to do things for you, or show you how to do them for the future?
Interested? Find organisations that can help

Case studies



West Moor Residents’ Association is a small voluntary organisation which runs a range of grass-roots activities from a community centre in the west of North Tyneside. The group approached Sector Connector to ask for help with revamping its image. Capita was keen to help and was able to involve its graphic designer in creating new branding and logos. Centre manager Jayne Maxwell commented:

“We did not have the expertise or resources to be able to do anything like this ourselves, but had a chat with Sector Connector about how we could get some help. In the course of a conversation you can mention something and you find out Sector Connector can help you with that.”