Minister for the Cabinet Office Meets Chester Charities to Encourage Greater Business Skills Sharing

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CVA with Minister MaudecropThe Minister for the Cabinet Office, the RT Hon MP Francis Maude, visited Chester today (Thursday 26th February 2015) to meet local charities who are benefitting from business skills sharing in Cheshire.

The Minister met with charities Age UK Cheshire, The Bren Project and DIAL West Cheshire (DIAL House) all of whom have recently received support from businesses in Cheshire as part of Chester Voluntary Action’s SkillShare initiative and Cheshire Connect’s business mentoring scheme.

Francis Maude says “I visited DIAL West Cheshire on the recommendation of local MP Stephen Mosley. They are working to provide support and advice for people with disabilities. We had an excellent discussion with Chester Voluntary Action and Cheshire Connect on how the charitable sector can develop its entrepreneurialism and business-skills to do even more in local communities like this one”.

Carol Berry, Chief Officer of Chester Voluntary Action says “Our SkillShare initiative matches skills donated by local business people with the needs of charities and other voluntary organisations in Cheshire West and Chester. The support shared by local businesses helps voluntary organisations to overcome challenges, fill skill gaps and develop their services further. In 2014, Chester Voluntary Action generated in excess of £75,000 in free business support, and we have built up a network of 160 businesses who want to give support to the local community.

Local business skills sharing schemes like our SkillShare initiative are a great way to support smaller local charities and voluntary groups to access professional skills and expertise that may otherwise financially be beyond their reach. Chester Voluntary Action has extensive experience and knowledge of the local voluntary and community sector and is therefore in an ideal place to broker support from local businesses and maximise its impact”.

Richard Burnett, Partner at Hillyer McKeown said “this was an ideal opportunity to meet the Minister and explain how and why we had donated our time and expertise to charities and voluntary organisations in our area. Hopefully, this will encourage other companies to get involved with local business skills sharing initiatives”.

Peter Sackett from local charity The Bren Project says “the support we received from Hillyer McKeown has helped during a period of growth and service expansion. Being a small charity, we only have a limited skill set and the professional support and advice we have received as part of the Chester Voluntary Action’s SkillShare initiative has been invaluable”.

If your business or charity is interested in offering or receiving business support, please contact Joanne Walton at Chester Voluntary Action: joanne.walton@chesterva.org.uk or telephone 01244 316587.

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