Online platform launched to help charities source local furloughed workers as volunteers.
With the UK charity sector estimated to be facing a £4 billion loss over the next twelve weeks and 50% of all businesses putting most of their staff on furlough as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, Freestyle, a Midlands-based digital product studio – has launched a unique service helping charities connect and find support from local businesses and its furloughed workers, Charity Matcher.
For many of the UK’s 200,000 charities who employ an estimated 880,000 people, the cancellations of fundraising events and closure of high street charity shops have hit finances hard. The purpose of the brand-new platform, which works using geographical location, is to support those charities who have been impacted by Covid-19 and help them find and connect with local businesses who may be able to offer help.
Organisations registered on the website – which is supported by the likes of The National Youth Agency – can volunteer its furloughed employees but they can also donate access to its premises and equipment, as well as money.
Dan Archer, Marketing Director for Freestyle, comments: “Charities, amongst other sectors, are facing unparalleled challenges at a time when demand for their services – from mental health and social care to domestic abuse and housing – are seeing a unique rise amid the Coronavirus epidemic. Charity Matcher is completely free to use and has been created with one simple objective in mind – to introduce charities with local businesses.
“Voluntary organisations are currently facing difficulty in finding the right balance between being able to help right now whilst ensuring they will be able to make a difference once the immediate crisis is over. Few charities have the cash reserves from which to survive a prolonged downturn so we are hopeful our platform will make a huge difference to many charities across the UK.
“Not only will it connect them with local businesses but it will give them access to much needed resources and donations to ensure their continued support for people and communities, at a time when it is needed more than ever.”
Trade union Unite recently highlighted to the UK government that charities who are keen to continue amid a national crisis cannot avail themselves of the furloughed workers scheme because in order to be eligible for the scheme, furloughed workers cannot work or even volunteer for the organisation that employs them under current arrangements.
Dan continues: “Charity Matcher provides a solution for charities who are in desperate need of volunteers and resources following the recent revelations by Unite. The concept for Charity Matcher has taken less than two weeks to complete – from validating the idea to official launch – which the team at Freestyle are exceptionally proud of. I strongly encourage as many charities and businesses to get themselves registered. You never know what support there is just around the corner.”
Charity Matcher is completely free for both charities and businesses to use. Support needed or offered will be determined by the selection of up to four categories entitled: Funds, People, Premises or Equipment. Those registered will be able to locate and start conversations with others using geographical location.
Charities and businesses can find out more or sign up to Charity Matcher here.