THE Association of Voluntary Service held their second ‘MatchMadeinWoking’ event recently, designed to bring together local community organisations with businesses in the style of speed dating.
The 1st Byfleet Scouts, Age Concern Woking, Alzheimer’s Society, Arbor Centre, Brooklands Museum, Citizens Advice Surrey, Cornerhouse, Crossroads Care, LinkAble, Mascot, Phoenix Cultural Centre, Surrey Care Trust, Surrey Welfare Rights Unit, Surrey Wheels for All, The Knaphill Cabin Youth Centre, and York Road Project took part.
They each developed pitches including requests for support in IT, meeting rooms, project/business planning, decorating, gardening, cookery lessons, marketing, trustees, fundraising events, labour, equipment, publicity, volunteers, training and storage, to name a few.
To support members as much as possible, the organisers held pre-event meetings outlining the format of the morning and giving an opportunity to hone their pitches before ‘speed dating’ with the businesses. Participants had a pre-selected list of ‘dates’, each of which lasted 10 minutes; the organisations then needed to move on to their next appointment.
To make the event viable they also needed to have the input of local businesses each looking at ways of meeting their Corporate Social Responsibility in a new and novel way; businesses are often inundated with requests for support, most often financial.
MatchMadeinWoking enabled them to meet representatives of, and hear about, local services, each of which meet a specific need within the community.
Any follow-up meetings are arranged through WAVS which means the businesses can take time to choose which organisations they can help, and how, without any additional pressure.
Manager Sylvie Marshall said: “We were thrilled that once again Woking MP Jonathan Lord was able to attend our event and to say a few words in support of the voluntary sector and continue his support of WAVS and the work we do.
“Initial feedback from both sides has been extremely positive and offers of help from the businesses have already been received. We will continue to work with those involved to ensure they are fully supported going forwards.
“Thanks must go to my Funding Advisor Gill Cossey and my Development Officer Elspeth Andrews for all their work in the lead up to and on the day of the event.
“I would also like to thank Chobham Golf Club for supporting us with the venue and for their hard work in ensuring the room and lunch was ready as and when needed.
“Future events of this nature will definitely be scheduled in. All the businesses attending will receive a bronze WAVLET: an award system designed to recognise their engagement within the community.
“Thank you also to my trustees, John Davey, Graham Chrystie and my Chairman Graham Mott for their support on the day.”