Charities and not-for-profit organisations across the county have begun taking advantage of a free membership offer from Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.
The Charity Membership Fund is being delivered in conjunction with Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, McPhillips and Aico - three ‘ambassadors’ who have all donated to the fund to support the third sector.
“The past year has been particularly tough for many charities, with the Covid-19 lockdown cutting off vital income streams,” said Mia Carter, Shropshire Chamber’s director of membership.
“So, we felt this was the perfect time to create an opportunity which would make a positive difference to local charities, at a time when it will be of maximum benefit.
“The fund gives these organisations access to our essential level membership, which includes a host of benefits such as HR, tax, legal services and health and safety support.
“It also entitles them to a wide range of discounted training programmes, and attendance at six Chamber’s network club sessions of their choice.”
To qualify for consideration, the organisations must have a Shropshire postcode, and an annual turnover of less than £1 million.
All applications will be assessed and considered by the Ambassadors panel, who will make the final decision.
Several groups have already been welcomed onto the programme, including The Movement Centre in Gobowen, and Small Woods Association, based at Coalbrookdale
Allsports Coaches Coaching Academy CIC, Empathy for Special Children, Hands Together Ludlow, Telford & Wrekin Council for Voluntary Service, The Clifton Community Arts Centre Ltd, and the League of Friends at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital in Gobowen are also on board.
The Charity Membership Fund has a limit on the number of memberships that it can provide, and will close for applications for the current year once the limit is reached.
But there are currently still vacancies. More details are available at www.shropshire-chamber.co.uk/membership/join-us/charity-membership-fund/
Neal Hooper, managing director of Aico – reigning Shropshire Company of the Year – said: “As a patron of the Chamber we are always seeking ways to support them, and of course Shropshire business in general.
“Aico in the Community was launched a few years ago to bring a great focus on our CSR initiatives. By becoming a Chamber Ambassador we are able to be involved with a number of causes that are important to us.”
David Wauchope of McPhillips said: “We are a Shropshire-based company with the vast majority of employees based within the county. This is an opportunity for us to support local causes within our own community, and hopefully give a little bit back where we can.
“Quite often people in need don’t know where to start looking for support; if we can put a platform out there where people can approach us for support, then that has to be a good thing for our county as a whole, and means we can direct support where it is needed and can be effective.”
Tom Macdonald of Enterprise Flex-E-Rent added: “Enterprise has a proud history of supporting our local communities, and the opportunity to partner with the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce aligned perfectly with our ongoing commitment to support good causes in the Shropshire region.
“We know that many of our employees have benefited from the fantastic work that local community groups do, and in recent years we have built strong relationships with many charities in the local area. We are looking forward to continuing this as an Ambassador in 2021.”