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Small Charities Week 2016

Small Charities Week 2016

As an independent local support and development charity we provide specialist support to around 200 small charitable groups.


There are local support and development charities like ours working behind the scenes right across the UK to provide valuable support for smaller charities, such as fundraising advice; marketing and governance training; and help to find new volunteers. NAVCA is the national body for infrastructure charities and we work to the NAVCA quality standard, providing high quality information and advice and also acting as the voice of the local voluntary sector. 

Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA explains “Smaller charities can often be ignored. Harrogate & Ripon CVS’s excellent networks and forums allow local authorities and health bodies to work with smaller charities and in turn support local people and communities.”


From our day to day work we have a good understanding of the issues facing smaller charities particularly around fundraising, recruiting volunteers and raising awareness. Often we find the issue is not that charities lack the skills to run their organisation; in fact there are many highly skilled people working and volunteering in the sector bringing a wealth of knowledge from all walks of life. But in smaller charities staff and volunteers focus on meeting the high demands for their service and this often means that areas like management, fundraising and marketing have to take second priority. This is where charities like ours come in. HARCVS provides the expertise to support small groups through the next stage of their development. Our help means that small charities can continue to focus on providing their much needed services for vulnerable people.  


With demand for our services increasing, the support we have received as Harrogate TSB’s Local Charity Partner has been invaluable. The money raised by the staff has enabled us to provide more one to one advice sessions and in total we supported over 250 groups last year. The branch have also helped us to raise awareness of our work by displaying information for their customers to read and running eye catching competitions in store.


Just one example of a group we were able to support thanks to TSB’s help was a group of volunteers who wanted to renovate an old unused school house to turn it into a venue for community use. The school house needed a lot of renovation work including new wash rooms, heating and disabled access ramps. The volunteers had never taken on a project of this size before and particularly needed help to fundraise.


Our advice worker, Nina Muir, supported the volunteer committee to plan out the project and to write a number of successful funding applications raising over £55,000 in one year.  Thanks to the support from TSB Nina was on hand to help the committee via phone, email and in person to make sure they had the support they needed until the fundraising had been completed. Bernadette, the Chair of the St Wilfrid’s committee, explains:


"HARCVS offers a vital and valuable service to local voluntary organisations. They have not only helped us with advice and as a critical friend with a community audit and funding applications for our project which is responding to local need in Ripon but they are available to help in more practical ways. For example, while our retired volunteers have the vision, time and empathy to nurture cohesion and development in our local community we lack the IT skills to easily access online funding applications and reporting, which could have been a barrier to getting £55,000 (from two funders) in one year that we have achieved to date. HARCVS has supplied both the wider expertise and the flexibility of the practical support that we have needed to be successful."


Karen Weaver, Chief Exec of HARCVS, explains: ‘Our local branch of TSB in Harrogate has been a fantastic support over the last year. As it gets harder for small charities to find funding we’re really grateful that the staff have put so much effort into fundraising for us. This has helped us focus on supporting our local community and without this generosity we would not have been able to help so many groups last year.’