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GTKPB - April 2018



** Get to know Pro Bono - Issue 6 **

15th April 2018  

Welcome to the 6th issue of “Get to Know Pro Bono”.  There are four significant volunteering opportunities in this edition as well as our regular feature “Get to know your Pro Bono committee” which features Natasha Roe, who has recently joined the committee. 

I enjoyed meeting many new and propsective members at the Members' reception  on 22nd March and look forward to having more volunteers for pro bono work. Thank you for attending.   As I said at that session pro bono work can be very rewarding.  Here's what one recent client said: 

"I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for all your hard work, advice, guidance and the inputs that you’ve made to our strategy for 2018. It’s been really very helpful indeed, in particular your classification around the member journey and providing some clarity around roles and expectations. We have a lot to do, and I know that there’s no silver bullet – these things are about learning and developing as individuals together over time. But your consultations have really helped to push us in the right direction."    Very gratifying! 

It has been a busy few weeks and there are four organisations that need our help. As usual I have included the appropriate logos to the right - click on them to go to the clients' websites:

Community Managed Libraries Peer Support Network

There are a growing number of community managed libraries (CMLs) across England (who are themselves small local charities or trusts). These already comprise around 10% of public libraries in England, and numbers are expected to grow over the next couple of years as councils increasingly consider this delivery model.   The aim of the Peer Support Network is to ensure that all parties involved make informed decisions: understanding the pros and cons and learning from others who have gone before, so that a high-quality service is provided to local people.

Work on developing the network was started in December 2016, supported by funding from “Power to Change” (their Community Business Fund) and with in-kind support from Libraries Taskforce (at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport), Society of Chief Librarians, and Locality (who support the development of community businesses).  This blog provides background information on the Network's aims, and what it has done so far.

The network has been run to date through Power to Change funding provided to Upper Norwood Libraries Trust (and further funding applications are being made at present). The Network now wishes to move forward from this to developing a self-sustaining business model, run by a governance group formed of members. It is seeking support from a consultant to work with a small group of network members to help to shape a future approach to developing a self-directed and sustainable network, with ownership by its members.   In broad terms the requirement is to help the Network to develop a business plan to move to self-sufficient working by April 2019. This would probably involve covering issues such as:

  • Establishing a governance model which works for the Network, and helping to develop/position a governance group to lead the network
  • Helping to devise a robust business model which will enable the Network's activities to continue and develop. This could involve assisting it with considering
  • Membership subscription structures and arrangements
  • Fundraising strategies - e.g.  to generate donations and sponsorships

The initial contact for this work would be The Head of the Libraries Taskforce at Department for Culture, Media and Sport but the work would be for the Network as a whole.   

In summary, this is a high-profile strategic opportunity to make a major difference to the provision of library services in England.  I imagine this to be a project running several months with an input requirement of say 10 days over that period, but that is all to be worked out yet.   

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North Herts Emotional Support in Schools Service (NESSie)

Based in Hertfordshire, NESSie offers support to schools in developing a strategic plan for Emotional and Mental Health.    There are four main areas of focus:

  • Support to local schools
  • Support and care for Pupils
  • Support and advice for Parents
  • Working closely with other service providers and stakeholders locally. 

NESSie has been successful up to now and has secured £50,000 per annum funding over four years towards the running of NESSie.     There is a market for NESSie’s services and there are prospects of expanding into Essex.  The challenge facing NESSie now is to move the organisation towards being a self-sustaining social enterprise with multiple funding streams. NESSie is seeking support that combines mentoring with some practical business advice on developing and growing the business.  This would be typical mentoring assignment in terms of duration and effort required but practical experience of helping small charities to grow and of the Health Sector would probably help.   Mental health in young people is a major current national issue, so If you think you could make a difference by helping Rachel and NESSie then please do contact me.

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The London Irish Centre Charity

This Camden, London, based charity’s mission is to provide outstanding “Care, Culture and Community” to the Irish (although not exclusively) in London. It provides these as follows:

  • Care - through advice and outreach services; day services, social groups and wellbeing programmes for the elderly; befriending programmes as well as a range of crisis support assistance.
  • Culture - through a range of arts; culture and educational activities
  • Community - through volunteering; online and the physical London Irish Centre.

The charity is a former WoCoMC client and has an annual turnover of about £1m.  It is developing a long-term development plan for its Centre which will involve raising £6m capital.  The charity is looking for help in two areas that arise directly from this proposed development:

  • To help develop the senior leadership and organisational structure that is appropriate for the development stage.  This is likely to include advising on the overarching business case, the on-going business model needed to ensure that the new centre is economically viable, and possible fund raising (although plans are well underway on this front).
  • Similarly work with the senior leadership team on systems and processes to ensure that they too are fit for purpose.

The client for this work would be their CEO.  I think this project will run over several months with an input requirement of say 10 days over that period, but the scope and details woul need to be developed.   If you think you could help the London Irish Centre with either of these requirements (you do not need to do both) then please contact me.

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Working With Cancer

Working with Cancer (WWC) is a small social enterprise founded in 2014.  It supports any people affected by cancer - those with cancer, working carers, their employers, their colleagues - to successfully manage work and cancer from the point of diagnosis. The organisation helps people return to work, remain in work or find work depending on their needs.   WWC earns income from working with commercial organisations and charities – mainly coaching and training – all designed to help both employees and employers to manage cancer and work.   WWC also provides pro bono coaching and advice to people affected by cancer as well as some consultancy services.    These services are provided via a network of associates across the country. 

 The challenge now facing WWC is to scale up and, with this goal in mind, the founder/director is looking for consultancy advice about how to structure the company to grow it effectively and efficiently without compromising the quality of the services provided or its purpose and values. 

This requirement would suit someone with experience in growing an associate model management consultancy (or similar) – it’s about how to best manage an expanding team of associates.  You would be working with the founder/director – who is based in Thames-Ditton / London – and I would expect this to be a short-term assignment.   If you think you could help, then please contact me.

Nervous about volunteering?

The Committee suspect that some of our newer members are a little nervous about undertaking pro bono assignments because they are new to the sector.  While this is understandable, we are here to help.   We can provide coaching and guidance on working with third sector clients and we run periodic pro bono evenings on relevant topics (e.g. Charity Governance, measuring impact) to help build capability and confidence.   We can also provide “top cover” when working on specific assignments.  If in doubt, feel free to talk to any member of the pro bono committee.  Which brings us neatly to…. 

Get to know your Pro Bono Committee

The following members currently sit on the committee: John Corneille, Bob Harris, Patrick Chapman, David Glassman, Denise Fellows, Nanette Young, Mark Hoble, Natasha Roe and Steve Cant (Chair). All committee members are active in qualifying opportunities that arise, finding volunteers to work on opportunities, client engagement oversight and managing relationships with major clients. They are here to help you as volunteers. 

In each issue one member will introduce themselves. This time, Natasha Roe who recently joined the Committee.

"I am a relatively new member of the Company too, having been admitted in January 2017. Since joining I have taken on one pro bono assignment and was glad to be invited to join the committee by Steve. In my day job, I run a marketing and fundraising consultancy working exclusively with charities - from small community groups to some of the very largest, like Mind. I hope to bring my experience of delivering hundreds of charity consultancy assignments to the pro bono committee. I’ll be wearing a ‘charity viewpoint’ hat but also can share practical experience of working with non-profits. Please talk to me if you’d like to know more."

Pro Bono Case Studies

We have recently updated the Pro Bono Case Studies on the Website – so please take a look here:

I’m always keen to get feedback and new case studies that we can share here and on the website, so if you’ve completed a pro bono assignment in the last year or so, please don’t be shy, and let me have a few words.  Thank you in advance and  thank you for reading this far.

​Kind regards

Steve Cant

Steve Cant
Chair, ProBono Committee




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