Giving charity a brighter future

January 28, 2013 Uncategorized

An iPSL training course challenge has blossomed into a major project that is transforming the fortunes of an East Midlands charity for those affected by an acquired brain injury.

Barclays has added its corporate weight to the big boost for Headway East Northants, which has resulted in room make-overs, marketing support, a revamped website and fund-raising backing.

“I cannot say thank you enough for what it has meant to a charity like us,” says Headway’s delighted Fund-raising Manager Sue Stevenson.

The heart-warming project, which has drawn support from all over iPSL, was born out of the Accelerated Leadership programme in August. One of the modules called on participants to use their own leadership management skills to help a charity enhance its fund-raising. Northampton BPH-based Client Relationship Manager Alison Burgess, Simon Skelton from Service Transition, Finance’s Steve Goodland and Chelmsford Senior Operations Manager Marianne Bird chose Headway East Northants from a list provided by Northampton Community Foundation.

The Foundation’s initiative, Localgiving.com, is helping smaller charities by providing them with a web page to enhance their fund-raising opportunities.

“Headway has franchises in different areas and the East Northants branch only has about five staff. The charity was in the progress of designing a website, it did not have any social networking set up or any marketing materials,” says Alison.

“It’s very humbling to see what this charity does for people and we were very pleased to offer our help.” “I am extremely proud and have felt privileged to be involved with a great team of iPSL colleagues and such an inspiring charity,” adds Marianne.

The iPSL team was planning to spend six hours supporting the charity, but soon realised that wouldn’t be enough. They have worked with Headway for the last two months, supported by other iPSL employees and Barclays, and the work goes on. When the group initially asked the charity how they could help, Fund-raising Manager Sue explained that the main income comes from sponsored marathon runners, so they promised to source runners. But the eager iPSL band soon ran up a much bigger to-do list and others rushed to help. “The charity has a website, but didn’t have any information on it. They drafted something and some of our project guys checked it over to ensure the structure was correct,” adds Alison. “We also had someone help them set up social networking and also produced a flyer so they now have something to go out and market themselves to other companies.” Then things really began to get going. Alison approached her client Barclays who immediately offered help by sending decorating teams along to the charity’s offices, as well as providing networking opportunities with Marshalls, who have since donated £2,000-worth of amplifiers and appointed a treasurer who provide finance skills and enables Headways to control its own budget.

Meanwhile BPH Facilities Manager Keith Court brought his own decorating skills in to play by plastering and painting a room that has been transformed into a learning zone. Equally kind-hearted IT souls sourced and recommended a funding package for a new PC. “The charity wants to move premises but doesn’t have the money, so we offered to help make its current site nice, to obtain more client referrals, which in turn increases its income,” explains Simon Skelton.

Headway attended iPSL’s summer fun day and Sue and Charity Manager Dawn Wright are going to BPH to attend some of the Changing Gear courses, with a view to passing on the skills learnt there to their own people.

“Working with them has opened up so many avenues,” says Alison. “Now they’ve got this marketing material and can launch their website and social networking group. “It will help their fund-raising because they can get out and tell people who they are and what they do.” The charity is thrilled with the support, and paid public tribute to iPSL when they accepted its recent Localgiving.com trophy in the Northamptonshire Community Foundation Awards, which Alison attended. “I didn’t know Sue was going to refer to iPSL,” she smiles. “There were a lot of other companies present and it was great for the company to be linked to helping charities in the community.”

Headway’s Sue Stevenson says it’s very difficult to put into words just how they feel about iPSL’s involvement. “When we were first introduced, we were pleased they could offer us six hours, which was good of them,” she says. “As a small local charity, however the help comes through – whether it’s someone’s time or a donation – is always gratefully received.

“But the support has absolutely exceeded all expectations. It’s incredible what they’ve done and Barclays has been amazing too – they’ve redecorated our relaxation and music room and given us the opportunity to pay them a fund-raising visit in the new year. Whatever we raise, they will match pound for pound.” Sue pays particular tribute to the founding team of Marianne, Alison, Simon and Steve. “They have made a huge difference to us,” she adds.