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Boris launches Team London "Skill-UP" programme

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The Mayor of London today announced the launch of Team London Skill-UP, a brand new programme that will see London’s top companies volunteer their time to train and advise small charities, to help to bridge the skills gap preventing many of them from growing.

Coinciding with Small Charity Week, from 15-20 June, Twitter, Citi and the CIPD, the professional body for Human Resources, are the first organisations to sign up as Skill-UP partners. They will share their knowledge and expertise with London’s small charities, enabling them to broaden their skill-sets and increase the impact of their services. 97 percent of the 23,633 charities in London are categorised as small organisations and research by the Foundation of Social Improvement (FSI) has shown that skills gaps and a lack of funding for training and development are the main barriers preventing these charities from growing. The Skill-UP programme will recruit volunteers from top London-based businesses to give support and training and to provide a go-to point for over 200 charity employees a year, allowing the charities to grow and thrive. The training on offer has been shaped by feedback from the 1,250 charities Team London supports on the business areas and skills they would like to be mentored in.

The CIPD gave the first Skill-UP workshop at City Hall today with a Human Resources training session looking at issues including recruitment and staff development, whilst Twitter will be giving social media masterclasses and Citi will be delivering mentoring in finance and accounting. Over the coming months,Team London will also be recruiting experts in communications and strategy and business planning. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Millions of Londoners would struggle on a daily basis without the essential support given to them by small charities. With the support of volunteers from leading businesses, the Team London Skill-UP programme will support hard-working charity staff and give them access to top class learning and development opportunities. As well as an opportunity for small charities to grow, this will help them to be as effective and efficient as possible, which will make a great difference to the services they provide to the people and communities of London.”

Chief Executive of the CIPD, Peter Cheese said: “With the vast contribution small charities make to our society, it’s important that those with limited resources are given opportunities to develop the skills and practices so crucial to an organisation’s success. As the professional body for HR and people development we strive to champion better work and working lives by improving practices in people and organisation development across all sectors. In support of this purpose, we are delighted to be part of the Team London Skill-UP programme, helping to develop good people management practices in organisations working so tirelessly to support London’s communities.” Nick Pickles, Head of UK Public Policy for Twitter, said: “Every day we see charities of all sizes using Twitter to champion their causes and raise awareness of a diverse range of issues. We're excited to be supporting the Team London Skill-UP programme to share best practice with groups across London and to ensure that these organisations can play a vibrant role in the millions of conversations that happen every day on Twitter.” 

James Bardrick, Citi Country Officer, Citi UK said “I’m tremendously proud that Citi is signing up to support the Mayor’s Team London Skill-UP programme. Small charities are the unsung heroes in many local communities, making an incredible difference to people’s lives. This is an important opportunity to connect with them and support the vital work they do. If we can help make their jobs easier by sharing the skills and expertise of our employees, it frees them up to do what they do best – provide much needed services and support to those in need.”

Charities that attended the first session included Yes Futures, The Maypole Project, Bikeworks, Sutton Community Farm and HAVCO, all of whom have said that the main barrier to their growth is the lack of specialised business skills as well as a lack of access to training and development. Sarah Wallbank, CEO of Yes Futures charity said: “As a rapidly growing small charity it is crucial for our team to have access to high level training. We don't have the budget to access this ourselves, particularly training from corporate experts. Team London's Skill-UP programme is providing this fantastic opportunity which will make a huge difference to the skills of Yes Futures' leadership team, and therefore the impact that we can make.”

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