CHESTER Voluntary Action has joined forces with Bank of America Europe Card Services and a number of other supporters to launch a programme aiming to help voluntary and community organisations in Chester.
The scheme, called SkillShare, has been devised to strengthen the links between businesses and voluntary groups in the city and offer free, professional business skills to community organisations.
CVA will act as an independent broker, helping organisations within the voluntary and community sector identify where they could benefit from specialised expertise, before matching their needs to a database of professionals who have agreed to offer their skills voluntarily.
The concept has been developed by CVA in association with Bank of America Europe Card Services, the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Ellis Whittam, Jets Foundation, West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, and thebestofchester.co.uk.
Chester Voluntary Action’s Chief Officer Carol Berry said: “This is an important programme offering local charities free access to vital professional expertise. This could be anything from legal advice, accountancy, training or business planning to training and website design.
“Our aim is to match the passion and energy of the voluntary sector with the knowledge and experience of local businesses. By doing this, we can help create a more effective, successful and sustainable voluntary and community sector in Chester.”
Bank of America Europe Card Services has committed to offer the support of Martin Supple, a senior manager from the customer assistance department, on a six-month secondment.
Martin will work to help develop the project and make the initial connection between the different sectors. He said: “There are a number of businesses and professional people in Chester who are willing to offer their support to local groups, but previously there has been no clear route for companies to get involved.
“SkillShare will change that. This is an opportunity for local businesses to play their part in the Big Society.
“The programme offers a perfect opportunity for local businesses to become more actively involved within their community.
“It is a dynamic approach to providing important services and supporting the sustainability of our voluntary and community sector organisations. I am excited to be a part of it.”
Mrs Berry added: “We are delighted a company as reputable as Bank of America Europe Card Services is supporting SkillShare and we hope other local businesses and professionals will offer their services too.
“Martin will play a crucial role in getting the project up and running and having him with us is an excellent example of a local business making a tangible and significant contribution to support the community.”
If you are in business or a local professional and would like to use your skills to help a local charity, contact Martin at Chester Voluntary Action on 01244 401900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you think your charity could benefit from free business expertise then please also contact Martin to arrange an initial discussion.