June 2, 2014, by Jacqui Storey

Nottingham Skillsbank

Our new blog is a guest blog written by Caroline Berrill from Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service. She writes about Nottingham Skillsbank which is a new service co-developed with The University of Nottingham’s Community Partnerships Team. It focuses on bringing together skilled volunteers and community organisations in Nottingham.

Caroline Berrill, Jacqui Storey and Olumide Adisa at the Nottingham Skillsbank Launch

Caroline Berrill, Jacqui Storey and Olumide Adisa at the Nottingham Skillsbank Launch

Skillsbank was germinated at a meeting at the University a couple of years ago when my colleagues and University staff began talking about how to harness the skills of professionals. They believed that such people often have little time to volunteer but have skills that are very much in demand from the voluntary and community sector. Organisations have great need for volunteers with specific skills to help with the facilitation of their business. Since launching Skillsbank in November 2013 we have had a great response with 48 people registered to offer their skills and 56 different organisations looking for skilled help.

Many skills to offer

The skills offered include IT trouble shooting, interpreting, fine art, garden design, accountancy and singing. The organisation Sustrans are currently benefitting from a Skillsbank social media volunteer who updates their online publicity. Thay are finding the support invaluable as it allows them to get their message out to the public more regularly than before. Other organisations have benefitted from volunteers helping with re-designing promotional material and delivering training. The type of help being asked for by organisations includes event management, marketing, photography, database support, financial direction, fundraising research, bike ride leading, film project support and business mentors.

Successful Project

We are happy with the success of the project so far; in general we have seen a really positive response with people registering weekly. This is great and shows that there are a lot of people wanting to give their time to support their community. However, the more people that sign up, the more chance of finding suitable matches with voluntary organisations and more people in the community being helped by their services.

Due to recent changes a lot of organisations are experiencing a strain on their finances this has led to a lot of requests for volunteers to assist them to research funding options, help them apply for grants and support with business planning. These are things that people may be able to use their transferable skills to do. There is also a need for people to sit on the management board of local charities and support the running of organisations within a committee. This can involve administration, project management and finance skills. Along with this we are happy to hear from anyone with skills to share.

So far, so good. We are just hoping that people continue to sign up at www.nottinghamcvs.co.uk/skillsbank so Nottingham Skillsbank can be a full and varied bank of volunteer support. We’d love to hear from University staff and students so please just get in touch

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