12th Oct 2020

Danni Gilbert and Mandy Baker from Sail Creative, delivering a training workshop

Giving to make a difference isn’t always about money. Giving time and skills can be just as valuable to voluntary organisations. From promoting skills sharing to the importance of trusteeship, the Community Foundation is committed to supporting the sector to thrive but also increase diversity in the boardroom. 

The Community Foundation has always run programmes to bring together those who have time, expertise and skills to offer and groups on the ground who can benefit,’ explains Adam Lopardo, the Foundation’s Director of External Relations. ‘But we wanted to do more, so we recruited a new member of the team, Colette Harrison, to specialise in and develop our sector support work.’  

At the heart of the Foundation’s offer are its Trustee and Skills Match schemes. Groups seeking to strengthen their boards or improve their skills are matched with the expertise of generous individuals and businesses to enable them to develop their services, be more inclusive and evolve strategies for the future. Colette identifies individuals with appropriate skills and experience, makes introductions and provides advice and guidance to both sides throughout the process. 

Trustee Match’s focus is on supporting first-time board members on the path to trusteeship. The Foundation works with organisations like the Young Professionals Forum to promote the value of trusteeship at an early career stage and with Yes We Can to provide training. This has benefited organisations seeking to diversify their boardroom and provided valuable professional development opportunities for younger people. Radha Sharma attended a Young Professional Forum event where Colette spoke. She signed up for Trustee Match and is already set to join the board of NIWE. "The Trustee Match Scheme is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who wishes to join a Board, and support organisations across the North East. It can be difficult finding the right organisation, and fully understanding your responsibilities, but the Community Foundation has great resources to help everyone".

Skills Match provides a great way for companies to offer services to the charitable sector and empower their employees. One business that has done just this is Accenture which has been working with the Foundation to place apprentices with groups needing support. At the start of Covid-19, Accenture offered a range of support on remote working and video conference to groups.

As well as the matching services, the sector support programme offers a range of workshops and sessions delivered in partnership with others like the Institute of FundraisingEthical Property Foundation and Sail Creative, or ‘in-house’ by Colette and other members of the Foundation team. 

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