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Charity finds help to step into business

SkillsBridge Chief Executive Andrew White and Carers Northumberland Chief Executive Sandi Downing.

SkillsBridge Chief Executive Andrew White and Carers Northumberland Chief Executive Sandi Downing.

A charity that supports carers across Northumberland has received a helping hand itself as it plans a new business venture.

Carers Northumberland works with about 1,800 people in the county who are providing unpaid care for a family member or friend.

It offers information and advice about carers’ rights and helps them to get the support they or their loved ones need from other agencies.

Now the charity is looking to set up a trading arm to generate a sustainable income, but staff were unsure where to turn.

They approached North East based SkillsBridge, which matches volunteers from the private and public sector with charities and social enterprises who could benefit from their expertise.

And SkillsBridge put the charity in touch with human resources specialist Andy Holgate, of Holgate HR in Gosforth.

Carers Northumberland Chief Executive Sandi Downing said: “In the current climate, I didn’t feel it was a good idea to be entirely reliant on grants. However, it’s one thing wanting to set up a trading arm and another knowing how to go about it.

“We’re a charity and setting up a small business requires a set of skills and information that we simply didn’t have.

“Andy has been an absolute Godsend. He’s mentored me entirely free of charge for several months now, talking me through the pros and cons, what needs to be done and what order it needs to be done in, and explaining the choices that are available to us.”

Mr Holgate said: “I think it’s important to give something back, to the community and the region in general.”

To find out more about SkillsBridge call 0191 275 5059.

 

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