A leading Staffordshire membership and umbrella body for the voluntary sector is celebrating its 5th birthday in style after announcing it has secured more than £10m of inward investment over the same period – all going towards boosting local communities.
Support Staffordshire, which has assisted more than 1000 charities and organisations since it was formed, marked ‘helping its members to be the best they can be’ at a special anniversary party at Stafford Gatehouse yesterday.
Almost 200 delegates heard how the charity provides help with funding, good governance and a range of business and back office support services, including Human Resources, marketing and communications and assistance with understanding of new legislation and regulations.
It has also hosted in excess of 1200 people at networking forums across the county, ensuring a focal point for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector to learn, share best practice and get their collective voices heard.
“This is a major milestone for our organisation and underlines the important role we play in supporting communities across Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme, South Staffordshire, Stafford, Staffordshire Moorlands and Tamworth,” explained Garry Jones, Chief Executive of Support Staffordshire.
“The voluntary sector is a very challenging environment and austerity has given many of our members significant challenges to contend with if they are going to help the communities they operate in.
“Our role has been to give them a strong voice and, importantly, cost effective access to essential services that means they can overcome these hurdles to continue to support local people in getting crucial access to transport, training, help with mental health issues and community projects that offer volunteering and job opportunities.”
He continued: “The 5th birthday party was all about celebrating what we have achieved and recognising some of ‘our stars’ that have been on the journey from the very start.”
One of Support Staffordshire’s most successful roles has been in matching volunteering opportunities, with over 3000 individuals supported to volunteer across local charities and community organisations.
As a nationally Quality Accredited volunteer centre service, it offers a free, friendly and confidential face-to-face and online recruitment service, helping people to find the opportunities that suit their lifestyle and interests.
More than 800 organisations are members of Support Staffordshire and this grows daily, offering volunteers the chance to get involved in sports coaching, admin, retail, mentoring, befriending, gardening and trusteeship.
Garry went on to add: “Whilst yesterday was all about celebrating our achievements it also gave us the chance to talk about the future and how we are looking to do even more to support our members.
“This will involve making the most of a very welcome £200,000 further investment from Staffordshire County Council, even more local collaboration and the possibility of moving to new, larger premises.”
He concluded: “We are also in the process of developing a new corporate strategy, where we are keen to tap into the resources, expertise and skills of small, medium and large companies across Staffordshire.”
For further information, please visit: www.supportstaffordshire.org.uk or follow @supportstaffs on twitter.