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Demand for skilled volunteers and employees in VCSE sector

Skills for Growth – SME Support encourages businesses with skilled employees to offer expertise to local voluntary organisations.


In celebration of Volunteers’ Week 2022 this June, Skills for Growth – SME Support participated in a 10-mile Weighted Walk round Heaton Park, in partnership with homelessness charity Depaul UK. The team have so far raised £900 heading towards a target of £1500, with 30 participants, each carrying between 5-10kg weight. The significance of carrying the weighted rucksack is to represent a young person struggling with homelessness, carrying everything they own on their back but also holding the weight of the world on their shoulders as they navigate their journey through homelessness. The proceeds raised will help ensure Depaul can continue its valuable work in supporting the most vulnerable young people experiencing or at risk of being homeless.

If you would like to donate, please follow this link.

We are extremely proud of this achievement and would like to extend a big thanks to everyone from the team who participated in the Weighted Walk, but while charitable actions like this are a huge help to the VCSE (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise) sector, this isn’t the only way that you can show support.

It is estimated that Greater Manchester’s VCSE sector generates over £1.2bn of income annually, creating over 75,000 jobs and mobilising over 500,000 volunteers. Our top areas covered by VCSE organisations are in Wellbeing, Health and Social Care, Community Development, Physical Activity and Sport, and Economic Wellbeing, delivering support to some of the furthest reaches of the community including may minority groups that larger businesses and support mechanisms may not otherwise reach. These organisations require skilled, committed, and knowledgeable individuals to run them, just like any other business, and that’s where you and your team can really make a difference.

Dawn Cretney Co-Founder and Director of Enterprising Youth says “We are a small organisation, working to empower and engage young people.  As Directors all 3 of us volunteer our time and skills to this role.  Whilst we understand our clients’ needs through many years of experience, we have significant gaps in other areas of business knowledge and expertise, such as financial planning, risk management, marketing and business planning and these gaps are problematic, preventing us from taking bigger action and hindering us in successfully growing our organisation.”

 “We want to meet needs and employ and train more people to enable us to make a positive impact for a wider number of people, but we currently don’t have funding available to pay for these positions, so we rely on volunteered time and action to fill the gaps.”

SMEs offering paid volunteering days and encouraging employees to engage with the wider local community benefit from better retention rates, staff fulfilment and increased brand awareness. Volunteering yours and your employees’ time gives you the opportunity to develop skills in a new environment, engaging with different subject matter and clientele, and ultimately improving ability and resilience. Feedback from volunteers demonstrate that employees show increased positive feelings towards their employer, colleagues, and sense of self in the workplace, contributing to an improvement in overall employee wellbeing.

It's important that business leaders also consider mentoring, coaching, and volunteering positions within local VCSE organisations, both for their own sense of community engagement and wellbeing, and also to offer specialised, high-level skillsets to organisations who need them.

“Our Board of Directors is composed of 9 volunteers who contribute their time and skills to advise and guide our strategy.” Says Sheenagh Young, Chief Director of South Manchester Credit Union. “We were started by volunteers 21 years ago and we have now grown to include 4,500 members who together have saved nearly £5 million. I am mindful that we stand on the shoulders of our pioneer volunteers who were all ordinary, local people, contributing a long-term commitment to grow our credit union from a zero base.”

GMCVO are working with our GM Consortium of Community Credit Unions to facilitate our development and deepen our understanding of the political framework across the city region. We are looking at expanding our services deeper into SME lending and the team from GMCVO and Skills for Growth – SME Support are assisting us in growing our skills and capacity.”


How can Skills for Growth – SME Support help?

Skills for Growth – SME Support is here to help GM-based businesses of all structures and sectors to source fully funded and subsidised training for their employees. Our Skills Coaches help business leaders put together a Skills Development Plan for their team at top level, looking at the training and knowledge needed to reach business goals, and then whittle that down to the individual level for any and all employees, to map their individual training needs and career development pathway within the business.

We can support SMEs who want to develop skills for their own employer and to use in the wider community through volunteering, and we can also find training for paid employees of voluntary organisations looking to expand their skillset.


If you would like to get in touch with a Skills Coach or advisor, click here to register your details and receive a call back, or contact us now on 0161 237 4444.

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Skills for Growth - SME Support

Skills for Growth - SME Support

Skills for Growth - SME Support is a fully funded, tailored service to help upskill your employees and improve business productivity.