This year we have worked hard to ensure that our corporate partners can really see what a difference they are making to vulnerable adults across Hampshire.
We believe our partnerships have to be mutually beneficial providing funding, support and a raised profile for the charity; and for the corporate, an opportunity to build the brand, good public relations and the chance to really make a difference to help vulnerable adults turn their lives around.
We have been approached by no less than 15 local businesses since the start of the year offering their support to those with a history of homelessness – “this is just amazing and demonstrates the passion that local businesses have for supporting what is a very visible and current issue” says SSJ’s Business Development Manager, Michelle Jeffery.
The Society of St James has a lot of properties that need regular refurbishment and local businesses can save the charity up to £1,000 a day by providing a team of workers to do some decorating or gardening work. Some of them even come with money they have raised to purchase the materials required to complete the job.
Those taking part have a lot of fun but with the knowledge that they are making the lives of vulnerable adults just that little bit more tolerable. One participant from a large financial institution said “thank you so much for organising the day, we had lots of fun as a team and came away feeling like we had accomplished something”.
We love working with our corporate partners, those that turn up on the day give so much of themselves and really commit to doing a good job. Stewart, our Project Manager says “working with the corporate volunteers is great; they are always so willing to get stuck in and get the job done”.
Recently we were approached by local provider of technology solutions and services, SoftCat, to ask what they could do to help support those with a history of homelessness. They have committed to providing a team every quarter to support our maintenance work which is wonderful. Their first project was to transform a garden at one of the houses that supports those who are homeless and have alcohol dependency. The team were delighted when one of the residents decided he wanted to get involved and work with them on the garden.
Of course Corporate Partners can support the work that we do in other ways. When we were selected by colleagues at the Southern Co-op‘s Head Office in Portsmouth at the end of last year we had no idea what an exciting partnership lay ahead. They demonstrated the level of their commitment immediately by throwing the full weight of their marketing and PR resource behind our Pay It Forward initiative that has been so successful.
Since then they have been involved in so many parts of our business including looking at training opportunities, purchasing and property and most recently became our lead sponsor for our Sleep Out event in November. “It just takes a little time and commitment on both sides to have those initial creative thinking meetings to explore how we can help each other” says Michelle Jeffery Business Development Manager.
And the benefit of having the Southern Co-op on hand is an obvious one for Annette Davolls, Cafe in the Park Service Manager, she said: “there is barely a day goes by when there isn’t some correspondence with a part of the Southern Co-op Head Office team whether it’s to tell us about money that has been raised, throw in a new idea, offer some more resource or donations of products.”
Annette continued: “The most wonderful part has been to see the interaction between the vulnerable adults we work with and the colleagues from Southern Co-op and to see what a positive impact this is having on the self-esteem of our service users.”