I was delighted to hear that All Saints Cafe are now ranked 2 out of 46 for food & drink locations in Leatherhead on Trip Advisor. In case you haven’t heard of them, All Saints Café has been born out of the Leatherhead Youth Project and its' aim is to nurture young people who need some help into employment. This demonstrates several different building blocks that a charity needs to get right if moving into trading…making a significant difference to the charity’s beneficiaries…delighting the customer AND getting them to tell people about it…enabling the word to get out through social media, etc.
All Saints had great help from corporate partners on opening its' cafe. On that subject there has been much in the media about Cameron's pledge to get public sector and large companies to pay employees to do 3 days voluntary work a year. I was surprised to hear that this was backed by an unlikely source - the CBI. Also the Institute of Personnel and Development have issued a report that says 39% of large organisations already offer paid time for their employees to take part in volunteering opportunities, with an additional 23% offering unpaid time, not bad!
Think of all these people - with their networks, skills and experience - what a huge difference they could make towards solving some of the issues that charities are trying to solve. The challenge is to make great use of the time they have available. It’s easy getting people to paint fences. It’s a lot harder (but a lot more beneficial) to get them collaborating to solve issues.
I was told about this organisation today – City Camp Brighton – “a local network of people and events working to accelerate social innovation projects within the City, through providing support, funding and resource.”
This is the nearest thing that I have found to what we are aspiring to be with Communilab - groups of people from a variety of backgrounds/organisations collaborating towards shared goals. In their case it is to accelerate social innovation projects in Brighton, in ours it is to significantly improve the lives of young people in Surrey.