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GTKPB October 2017




Welcome to the 3rd issue of “Get to Know Pro Bono”.  There are several volunteering opportunities in this edition and a great case study from Jim Foster about his work with Futureversity. I’m on the lookout for more Pro Bono case studies for future issues. Jim has shown how it can be done so please let me have yours.  Also in this issue is a new feature: “Get to know your Pro Bono committee”. 

First though, please note that the Charities Supper 2018 will be held on 18th January.  This is our flagship event and while it’s not yet shown in the Calendar it’s only three plus months away, so please save the date.  There will be more details next time.

Pro Bono Evening on September 14th

Thanks to all those that turned out for this Pro Bono evening and workshop on 14th September to hear about the result of recent research which we helped CassCCE with.  Bob Harris and Prof Stephen Lee gave an overview of the findings some of which are “myth busters” – but the report is embargoed until October so we can’t provide details here – yet.  The workshop session generated a lot of energy and plenty of ideas on how WCOMC can continue to work with OCS and the Charity Commission on the design and management of a major programme of action to strengthen charity governance.   There will be more on the Report in future issues but for now I’d be interested in your ideas for future events:-    

Future Pro Bono Events

After discussion at the Pro Bono Committee we identified the following ideas, some based on the top risks faced by Charities:

  • Fundraising - We have requests for help in this area regularly
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – A new and potentially major challenge for some charities.
  • Measuring Impact – Essential these days if a charity is going to be taken seriously by funders and commissioners.
  • Volunteer Management – The biggest HR challenge facing charities?

Pro Bono Case Study  - Futureversity - by Jim Foster

Futureversity is a charity, based in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, that over the past 20 years has provided a range of educational activities for 160,000 young people aged 9 to 25, with 82% from ethnic minority backgrounds and over 60% in receipt of free school meals. All its courses and activities are provided free of charge.

In 2015, it launched a programme called Vacation Education that, during the summer school holiday, provides 10 days of structured activities for 14 to 16 year olds aimed at developing a range of skills to help them prepare for further education and work. Recent research from Northumbria University identified multiple negative impacts of school holidays on young people from deprived backgrounds, including “summer learning loss” which inhibits social mobility. Vacation Education is the first summer holiday programme of its kind which aims to address this issue. In 2017, the programme has been provided from two locations in Tower Hamlets to around 250 participants from 12 London schools.

I have worked with the charity’s Chief Executive, staff and Trustees to define a strategy aimed to providing the Vacation Education programme to participants in a wider geographic area, and at reducing its dependence on grants to fund the delivery of the programme. This became of increased importance during the course of my work as Futureversity was informed that it would no longer receive grant funding from the Careers and Enterprise Company, which has been one of the principal sources of funding for the Vacation Education programme. This was as a result of the Careers and Enterprise Company focusing its support those parts of England that have been identified as Opportunity Areas by the UK Government.

The proposed approach, which the charity is now implementing, involves two key initiatives, both of which would involve a financial contribution to Futureversity:

  • A Delivery Partner programme, in which Futureversity would make the materials used to deliver and assess the impact of the Vacation Education programme to other organisations in London and other parts of the United Kingdom. These organisations, which could include schools and other educational charities, would take responsibility for delivering the programme with support from Futureversity;
  • A Corporate Partner programme, which highlights to large, medium and small enterprises the benefits of involving its people in the delivery of the Vacation Education programme

Working with the charity highlighted the need that many charities have to reduce their dependence on grants and donations, and explore new sources of funding that are related to the benefits delivered by the charity’s activities.

This Charity needs your help - Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP)

TEP is the only non-campaigning organisation looking after one of the world’s premier rivers, and provides a framework for the sustainable management of the Thames. With a strong network of over 5000 stakeholders, it is an effective membership organisation delivering best practice, knowledge sharing and key connections to achieve a thriving living and working river for London. Its partners are significant Thames stakeholders and include the Corporation of London, University College London, the Environment Agency, The PLA, Natural England, Thames Water and Essex County Council.

As with all small charities capacity is limited and TEP is looking for help in completing funding requests aimed at major Trust funds.

If you can provide perhaps a few days to help this charity then do let me know. More information is available at:

This Charity needs your help - HighGround

 HighGround is a small charity based in central London that focuses on the life of service personnel beyond the military, and in occupations outdoors.  Its mission is to provide jobs, careers and vocational opportunities for Service Leavers, Reservists and Veterans in the land-based sector. Military skills and experience map perfectly and by building a powerful community HighGround has the resources to create opportunities for ex-military personnel and reservists to pursue a career in this area.  HighGround does this through work experience and employment opportunities, and by providing access to the right education and training courses required to develop the necessary skills to move in to the land-based sector.

In addition HighGround delivers the specialised Horticultural Therapy service for the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court in Surrey. Horticultural Therapy is now being used by DMRC as part of their rehabilitation programme for injured soldiers, sailors and airmen and all patients who come to Horticultural Therapy are referred by their Occupational Therapist as part of an individual rehabilitation programme. All the patients at DMRC are still serving their Country. Despite this HighGround receives no funding from the MoD and, like many small charities, needs to secure additional funding.   Further details at:

If you think you have the skills and the time to help HighGround scale up, then please do get in touch.  

This Charity needs your help - GCP Foundation

GCP Foundation is a NEW UK charity with a mission to tackle energy poverty in Africa using renewable energy. 600 million people in Africa are without electricity and currently use harmful fossil fuels, such as kerosene, or chop down forests to provide fire wood. This produces CO2 which harms the environment.  Kerosene is also highly damaging to health – lung damage, poisoning, burns. As a new charity GCP Foundation wants to solve these problems by installing solar panels on schools and clinics, and providing hand held solar light bulbs to allow individuals to study or work at home without using harmful kerosene lamps. It is taking its direction of travel from the United Nations and, in particular, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7:  Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.  More information on this here:

GCP is based in Hook and is staffed by volunteers and its development is being driven by a Trustee.  If you can provide some time to help this new charity then do let me know. More information is available at:

“Get to know your Pro Bono committee

In this regular section, we’ll introduce the members of the Pro Bono Committee.  The following members currently sit on the committee: John Corneille, Bob Harris, Patrick Chapman, David Glassman, Denise Fellows, Nanette Young, Andrew Miskin, Mark Hoble 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.  In each issue one member will introduce themselves, starting with Nanette Young FCIPS FRSA FIC CMC.

“My main purpose in joining the Company in 2013 was to actively take part in pro bono activities and the rewards have been even greater than I anticipated.

In my role as a pro bono mentor, I have had the unique opportunity to work with exceptional senior executives in a range of charities across a breadth of sectors including education, health and music and gain invaluable insight into the challenges facing the leaders of charitable bodies.

Additionally, as a member of the pro-bono committee, I am fortunate to work with and share knowledge in a group of experienced management consultants and charity experts who have a common goal of developing the capabilities of organisations in the Third Sector”.

Thank you for reading this far.
​Kind regards

Steve Cant

Steve Cant
Chair, ProBono Committee


1st October 2017


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