Celebrating 10 diverse Link UP Projects from 2020

Jan 2021

2020 was a difficult year for everyone, but we also saw so much goodwill amongst the challenges, with many people stepping up and making a difference in their local communities. Throughout the year, we were extremely fortunate to work with over 45 committed and diverse organisations on 65 different projects which have impacted the lives of more than 189,000 beneficiaries together.

To celebrate the diversity of Social Good Organisations that our incredible Skilled Volunteers supported throughout 2020, we’re looking back at 10 projects that made a huge difference to our local communities.

1/10: Aggie & Commons Legal

According to a Charities Aid Foundation survey, 1 in 3 UK charities reported a spike in demand for their service because of the pandemic. To accommodate the increase in demand, organisations are crying out for professional skills to help them grow in areas such as digital marketing, HR and finance. And that’s why Link UP’s work, connecting skilled volunteers to Social Good Organisations, is more important than ever!

When Commons Legal was forced to find ways to digitally connect with beneficiaries and develop a sense of community, Link UP volunteer, Aggie, provided them with an essential social media strategy tailored specifically to LinkedIn and together they set out tangible goals with a clear path on how to reach them.

“Aggie helped our not-for-profit law firm develop a strategy for increasing our reach on LinkedIn. She really took the time to understand the nuances of what we want to achieve and how our company operates, and provided a strategy document which is specific and clear in its recommendations. Loads of practical tips. Would definitely recommend her to others.”

Commons Legal is a not-for-profit criminal law firm with a commitment to social justice.

2/10: Ania & Climate Ed

Climate change is the big challenge of this century and young people hold the key to solving it.” – Climate Ed

Here at Link UP London we pride ourselves in creating personal connections between skilled volunteers and organisations that mean something to them and the communities they live in.

Earlier this year, Link UP volunteer Ania worked with Climate Ed, a charity that delivers climate change education to school children. At the time they were in the early stages of development and needed help reviewing their budget to allow them to create a confident strategy and funding plan. Ania’s experience in Financial Services was instrumental in creating a budget that meant they were bid-ready.

“Ania provided really clear, practical support to help guide our work as an organisation. It was also helpful to discuss issues with someone outside the organisation, who had a fresh perspective.”

3/10: Myrna & The Baytree Centre

Skilled Volunteers give charities and non-profit organisations the chance to thrive, innovate and make even more of a difference within their communities.

Link UP volunteer, Myrna conducted a thorough review of The Baytree Centre’s policies and procedures including the development of volunteer role descriptions and fine-tuning their staff handbook. As a result of Myrna’s support, Baytree Centre achieved the NCVO Quality Standard and the organisations continues to go from strength to strength.

“So proud to have achieved the Investing in Volunteers award for good practice in volunteer management with the support of Myrna and Link UP! Achieving this means we can continue to strengthen and develop Baytree!”

Baytree supports women and girls education and training to create supportive pathways towards social inclusion for inner-city families.

4/10: Shufan & Home-Start Wandsworth

When people say ‘volunteering’, front-line support is normally what comes to mind. However, skills-based volunteering is equally as important for any social good organisation to continue supporting people in the community.

Home-Start Wandsworth helps families with children under 5 that are struggling with isolation, mental/physical health, financial or housing worries as well as post-natal depression. The pandemic has meant they are needed more than ever.

When Home-Start Wandsworth came to us looking for support with their impact reports, we matched them with Data Analyst, Shufan, who helped create a reporting template that worked with their existing database.

“Our volunteer was fantastic. She brought a very specialised skills set to a problem we had been struggling with for years, and in the space of 2 weeks created a tool that we can use to better analyse our work and save valuable staff time!”

5/10: Tracey & Clowns without Borders

As with a lot of businesses, Covid-19 has forced charities to quickly digitise their services. Digital fundraising, including digital events, has become the only option for many charities so here at Link UP we have seen a surge in demand for digital marketing experts.

Clowns Without Borders’ provides emotional comfort and respite to children living through disasters, using dynamic clown performances and playful, child-centred workshops.

Most of the organisation’s support was previously done face-to-face so when the pandemic took hold, they, like many, were looking to raise their profile on social media. We matched them with Link UP volunteer Tracey, a Marketing and Social Media expert, who helped the organisation develop a clear strategy which resulted in a tangible effect on fundraising.

“Tracey has been integral in helping us develop our social media strategy. Her insight and expertise has already increased our engagement on social media. We’re also confident we’ll go beyond the fundraising targets we’ve set for social this year. Tracey’s expertise and enthusiasm has given us a much need boost!”

6/10: Sophie & Suited and Booted

This year, redundancies rose to a record high and the UK’s unemployment rate continues to increase so charities such as Suited and Booted have seen a huge demand for their services.

The London-based organisation offers support to vulnerable, unemployed and low-income men by providing them with suitable interview clothing and interview advice to boost self-esteem and confidence, so they feel empowered to get a new job.

Earlier this year, Business Analyst Sophie, signed up with Link UP to feel more purposeful during these uncertain times. Suited and Booted was looking to set up an online booking system to help cope with the high demand for their services. Sophie identified the software and supported the charity to implement the change.

“The project helped us to capture data more efficiently enabling Suited & Booted to understand better the community it helps and to see if there are any areas for improvement.”

7/10: Louise & Clothing Collective

The Greater London Authority found there were 4,227 people sleeping rough in London between April and June, of which 2,680 (63%) were sleeping on the streets for the first time.

Clothing Collective helps those facing financial hardship by providing redeemable vouchers which can be exchanged in their partner charity shops for basic clothing.

The organisation was in need of a researcher with a strategic mind to help them identify accessible grant opportunities. Link UP Volunteer, Louise was the perfect match. As well as securing several small grants, she was enjoying her involvement so much that she went on to support with their accounts and general organisational development.

“Working with Link UP London gives us the opportunity to have the resources of a HR dept. They help with sourcing and screening the professional volunteers we actually need!”

8/10: Amy & Age UK Wandsworth

Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. With the threat of Coronavirus, this year has been even harder on the older generation.

Age UK Wandsworth (an independent branch of Age UK umbrella) supports older people in Wandsworth, offering advice when they need it most. They were looking to shore up donations as those who donate sometimes gift to Age UK (the national branch) instead of the independent local branches that work directly with them and their families; believing them to be one and the same.

Link UP Volunteer and Digital Marketing expert, Amy, worked with Age UK Wandsworth to develop new online materials around legacy gifting (leaving donations in wills) including a slick brochure which has since made it much easier for Age UK Wandsworth to articulate how donations impact them as a franchise.

“Amy’s involvement provided much needed expertise and capacity on a project that has the real potential to provide long-term stability for our organisation. Whilst we were ‘fire-fighting’ during Covid, it was great to know that Amy was working away on a project that can support the future of the organisation”

9/10: Marianne & Douglas Bader Park TRA

Tenant Resident Associations increase a sense of belonging and pride in the community by giving residents a voice and an opportunity to share their views as well as keeping them informed about issues within the area, organising neighbourhood events and discussing service improvements.

In the face of regeneration, Douglas Bader Park TRA was looking for ways to engage the community by developing community projects and activities led by residents. Link UP Volunteer, Marianne had plenty of experience in Marketing and Strategy. Marianne helped create a comprehensive resident engagement plan which proved its value when 100 guests attended the first local community event.

“The advice and guidance offered enable the association to extend its reach within its local community, engaging further with vulnerable individuals who would not normally access on line resources. A fantastic experience which has provided not only direction for growth but enabled a local community to engage as volunteers in service development & delivery!”

10/10: Xavier & The Neighbourhood Watch

Despite the negative social impacts of COVID-19, such as increased levels of loneliness, there’s been a lot of positive things to come out of 2020, including more people volunteering and a greater sense of community, togetherness and empathy for complete strangers.

Neighbourhood Watch brings neighbours together to create strong, friendly and active communities where crime and anti-social behaviour are less likely to happen.

Link UP Volunteer, Xavier, an expert in data analysis, was recently matched with Neighbourhood Watch to help analyse a nationwide survey. Together, they were able to evidence the impact that Neighbourhood Watch was having in the community which will act as a benchmark for future development and will also aid future funding.

“We are so grateful for the friendly, professional and very effective support that Link UP London have given to our charity. As a small team we really benefitted from the expertise that the volunteer brought to us and he was a joy to work with – nothing was too much trouble and the results he delivered have taken us so far forward in a very short period of time. Thank you so much.”

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