The work of Support Cambridgeshire partner Cambridge CVS ( or CCVS for short) is about far more than giving groups the confidence and skills to flourish or providing training. One of their key roles is to bring people together, and one of the most popular types is when they introduce groups to funders.
CCVS runs events throughout the year in various locations across the county creating opportunities for groups to meet with potential funders.
One of their regular events put three very different groups in contact with a well-known high street name.
John Lewis & Partners shops run a charitable giving scheme called Community Matters located in their shops’ restaurants. Over the last year CCVS has developed increasingly close ties with Christine Shaw, community liaison coordinator at the John Lewis and Partners shop in Cambridge. CCVS has invited Christine to participate in events with other funders across the county. The funders we work with not only donate funds, but are hugely generous with their time coming out to venues across the region both daytime and evening.
As a result of one of these events two of their members, Steel Bones and the Cambridge Hard of Hearing Club have been selected for the funding scheme. As Christine explains,
I had a fantastic chance meeting with CCVS at a volunteers’ week event last year and we have worked together ever since to get the word out to local groups that John Lewis and Partners have funds and skills that we want to use to help our local communities. CCVS have created the opportunity for us to meet groups we didn’t know existed and who knew nothing about what we had to offer. As a result of the CCVS ‘Meeting the funders’ event in December I’ve identified 3 groups: Steel Bones, Cambridge Hard of Hearing Club and Cornerstone to feature in our Community Matters Scheme in our Cambridge store.
Every three months we select three community groups who will be awarded a share of £3000, the percentage received is dependent on the number of tokens each group is awarded by customers. In addition to the token scheme I’m in discussion with the groups to see how else our partners can get involved to help.”
Cambridge Hard of Hearing Club:
The Club is a well-established community group for people with hearing loss. The group arranges speech to text facilities so that the members can read dialogue on a big screen in real time and take part in live talks and debates, something their hearing impairment normally prevents. Hearing Club members are mostly people whose hearing has become impaired in later life so that they are unable to lip read or understand sign language and can struggle with hearing aids. Hearing loss can be hugely isolating and can impact on people’s mental well-being.
Club chair Peter Teich said:
We heard about the Meeting the funders event through the monthly newsletter we receive from CCVS and they suggested I talk to John Lewis. I filled in the Community Matters form immediately and we’re now participating in their scheme this February to April. The funding will go a long way to paying for the equipment we need and will make a huge difference to our members.
Steel Bones is a more recently established charity set up to support individuals and their families across the region and beyond, who have become amputees in a non-military context. Steel Bones provides one to one advice, social events, signposting, and lobbies on behalf of families who are often left traumatised by their experiences. They help families address a sense of isolation and the emotional and economic hardship that can follow this life changing event.
Emma Joy-Staines Co-Founder of Steel Bones:
CCVS enable the smallest of charities, like ourselves to feel confident in approaching the big name funders thorough their training and one to one support. CCVS made sure I felt confident to attend their Funders event and was ready to ask the right questions to help us get the best support.
We met several funders at the event including John Lewis, who are offering funding through their Community Matters scheme. John Lewis are also looking to collaborate with us on a styling event for our amputees and their families which will boost our families’ morale and self-esteem no end and there are a number of other ideas in the pipeline. It simply would not have been possible without CCVS.
CCVS have been hugely helpful supporting us with our funding strategy in general and with their support we made applications to several other funders, fingers crossed!”
Cornerstone Pregnancy Advice Centre:
Cornerstone Pregnancy Advice Centre offer support to women in Huntingdonshire facing unplanned pregnancies to give them the time, space and non-directive information so they can fully informed choices. Cornerstone offer on-going support whatever decision women make. The women Cornerstone support are often anxious, distressed and confused and the charity works to offer support to find the right outcome for them.
Helen Turley Centre Manager said:
Thanks to CCVS we able to build a relationship with John Lewis which will make a real difference to the women we work with. As well as the Community Matters Scheme John Lewis are looking to support us with other fundraising events later in the year.”
The complete package of support:
CCVS know how difficult it can be to make the right connections, and how crucial this can be. The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is true in all forms of fundraising.
CCVS and other partners under the Support Cambridgeshire umbrella run events that enable funders and groups to meet up, to speak together in person, and to better understand one another.
Its a form of One stop shop.