A scheme which has provided a million pounds’ worth of support to community groups in Nottinghamshire is in danger of closure.
ProHelp gives local groups, clubs and charities free access to professional services they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. But now the scheme itself needs an urgent cash injection – and the region’s businesses are being urged to help save it.
Since it began 1995, ProHelp in Nottinghamshire has:
- Helped about 1,000 local projects
- Helped voluntary organisations to stay in existence and even safeguard jobs.
- Provided more than 10,000 hours of services – the equivalent of over 5 years of free support in total
- Given free access to expertise estimated to be worth around £1m.
ProHelp firms undertake one-off projects such as feasibility studies, structural surveys or property valuations, the development of marketing strategies or business plans – and all types of legal and financial advice.
For the last six years, most of ProHelp’s running costs have been met by the European Regional Development Fund, but that backing ends in September. Around £50,000 a year is needed to keep the scheme going.
Now a recruitment drive has been launched across the East Midlands – where the total value of ProHelp support is estimated to be more than £2.5m. Every new Nottinghamshire firm which joins ProHelp will help to reduce the funding shortfall through a membership fee:
- £100 (for sole traders/individuals)
- £100-250 (for firms with 2-10 employees)
- £250-£500 (for firms with 11-50 staff)
- £500-£1000 (for firms with more than 50 staff)
Companies which don’t want to commit to giving free services are being asked to consider a cash donation to ProHelp instead. Unless £50,000 is raised, ProHelp is likely to close by the end of 2015.
The unpaid support brokered through ProHelp is currently volunteered by 24 local companies – including solicitors, accountants, architects, surveyors, PR consultants, graphic designers, IT experts and business advisors.
Any interested businesses should contact the Chair of Nottinghamshire ProHelp Adam Jeffrey, Director at Chimera Consulting. Adam said: “It’s enormously rewarding to be involved and we know it makes a huge difference. It would be a tragedy if the scheme was lost, so we need the whole business community to step up and help us keep this brilliant scheme going.
“If ProHelp finishes, the losers will be Nottinghamshire’s charities and community groups.”
For further information contact
Adam Jeffrey, firstname.lastname@example.org 07811 358664
Matt Youdale, Arch Communications email@example.com 07850 743100
Examples of groups supported by Nottinghamshire ProHelp
Rhubarb Farm near Mansfieldis a social enterprise using organic horticulture to provide work placements, training and volunteering. Its clients include those who are unemployed, ex-offenders, have mental or physical ill health, or learning difficulties.
The farm needed ProHelp support to secure their future. AMA Planning helped to get planning permission for buildings and polytunnels, while surveyors Savills and lawyers Browne Jacobson advised about the land lease.
Managing Director Jennie Street said: “I can’t say enough how grateful we are to ProHelp for this excellent professional support. It’s a great programme for the likes of us, struggling to deliver services that will eventually make a positive difference to other people’s lives.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 07527 929592
Home-Start Nottingham supports families with young children to stay together when they are experiencing difficulties – thus avoiding any need for the children to go into care.
They approached ProHelp about their need to raise their public profile and increase income.
PR company Arch Communications, a member of Nottinghamshire ProHelp, produced a special marketing strategy free of charge, setting out how the charity could re-focus their limited resources to increase fundraising in new ways.
Sue Fenton at Home-Start Nottingham said: “We are very pleased with the marketing strategy. It has been a worthwhile and beneficial experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend ProHelp to anyone.”
Contact: Sue Fenton email@example.com 0115 962 4262