Analysis of Transforming Local Infrastructure
Case Study: Merton Means Business and Merton Community Fund
‘Merton Means Business’ featured a number of activities in collaboration with the Merton Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise (MCCE). Merton Voluntary Service Council (MVSC) had a pre-existing relationship with MCCE, and was able to build on this to expand its work with the private sector.
MVSC’s Business Engagement Manager was located at MCCE. This coordinating role was key to the project’s success, and had a number of benefits. MVSC recruited someone with a business background, who already spoke the language and knew the culture of the sector, and so was able to successfully establish relationships with business. The approach also reduced the length of time necessary to develop the partnership’s business engagement programme, as location within MCCE allowed access to its existing network of businesses. This enabled the programme to engage with 35 businesses, and generate a total of £40,560 of investment into the local voluntary and community sector. Support in kind has included corporate volunteering, skills-based trustee recruitment, specialist services for beneficiaries and donations of gifts and supplies.
Businesses who have contributed are promoted on the Merton Means Business website, and MVSC sponsors the ‘Extra Mile’ award for social contribution at the Merton Business Awards. Ian Beever, interim Chief Executive Officer at MVSC, says that raising the profile of the programme and the wider MVSC team is important to encourage trust in the organisation from the business community. The programme has also worked to encourage voluntary and community organisations to buy in services from local small businesses.
MVSC has established a Merton Community Fund in partnership with local business. This fund has generated over £1000 for grants to local voluntary and community organisations, and local business people have also been involved in the grant-making panel. It is also supplemented by a legacy fund in memory of MVSC’s former chief executive, Chris Frost. Merton has focussed fundraising efforts on generating standing orders and regular giving commitments, and has been able to help Merton Council, the largest local employer, to establish a payroll giving campaign, which is beginning to generate funds. The concept is tied to local communities and causes, which Beever says has been very successful in generating commitments.
The TLI partnership states that: Businesses have really valued the events we organised bringing together charities, the statutory sector and companies. They have been immensely popular and demonstrate the good will in the borough if you identify how to engage them in a way that is meaningful and relevant.
The full Analysis can be found here : Analysis of TLI final report
Feature on Merton Means Business can be found on page 37