Battersea Charities Week 2019 – An overview including next steps

What was Battersea Charities Week?

Battersea Charities Week was a week of events, training and networking aimed at charities, social enterprises and community groups to celebrate the amazing work of the voluntary and community sector in Battersea, whilst learning from each other and forming partnerships to rebuild the social fabric of the community in Battersea. The events took place at various locations around Battersea on the week of 24th-29th June 2019.

Battersea Together

Battersea Together is more than a hashtag. It is an umbrella term aimed at uniting local people and organisations, with an interest in or commitment to improving the quality of life of residents and communities in Battersea. Battersea Charities Week is part of a larger programme of work to bring people together.

‘It was really great to meet people and hear about their work challenges and hopes and see areas of connection.’

What we set out to do

To bring #BatterseaTogether, Battersea Charities Week aimed to:

  • Build Relationships and Partnerships: To better connect charities, social enterprises and community groups in Battersea to each other and local partners – strengthening relationships and building social capital
  • Develop Skills and Capacity: To build organisational capacity and skills of charities and community groups in Battersea to improve their work, people and services for local residents
  • Raise Profile and Celebrate: To raise the profile of local charities and community groups and celebrate their work and contribution to life in Battersea
  • Test, Test, Test: To test the idea of a Charities Week, learn from and grow the Week if it’s a success.

Q&A and chats over coffee at our Meet the Funders event

‘Very informative. I really gained insight into funding.’

What happened

We held 10 events over the course of 5 themed days. The themes included partnerships, volunteering, funding, effectiveness & sustainability and communications. Following a session at Big Local SW11 Battersea Together event on 7th March 2019, people put themselves forward and formed an organising group. It was made up of 8 different organisations and local residents. They met over the course of 4 months to curate and then deliver the events during the Week.

Branding was designed to give the week its own identity and independence by not aligning it to any particular organisation or funder.

Communication work was carried out through local networks and press (online and through the community) to raise profile of the Week and encourage people to sign up to the sessions. All sessions were free and most were oversubscribed.

98 people attended from 61 organisations around Battersea. At all events there was an opportunity to learn something that would benefit each participant’s community work, whilst also giving them time to get to know and learn from others who also care about making a difference in Battersea.

‘It was a unique opportunity to have group discussions, share ideas about volunteer management and it brought up lots of ideas for consideration.’

Feedback

Participants were asked to fill out short feedback forms for the events they attended. This has and will continue to help analyse the success of the events and help develop and improve them to better meet everyone’s needs.

Key themes about what people enjoyed included:

  • Networking opportunities
  • Finding out about different local charities
  • Interactive and informative sessions, delivered to a high standard
  • Meeting others committed to the local community, in a variety of venues
  • Useful topics covered throughout the week
  • Lots of group work

When looking at suggested improvements for future events, key themes included in the feedback were:

  • Acoustics of venues (unable to hear clearly)
  • Increase length of sessions and have more time to discuss in groups
  • For events with funders, have handouts with their names and details
  • Have beneficiaries and/or volunteers as speakers or facilitators
  • Publicise the week of events sooner
  • Have all the events over 2 or 3 days rather than a whole week

Other things noted were:

  • Increase participant from smaller groups and charities needed
  • Understand and address why people signed up for events but then didn’t show up
  • Explore different branding – as the word ‘charities’ in Battersea Charities Week may have put off some people and organisations from attending e.g. social enterprises and community groups

‘I really enjoyed meeting new people, talking about campaigning and sharing stories.’

Conversations about governance at our Big Breakfast event

Next steps

Battersea Charities Week clearly demonstrated that there is real value in bringing people together who care about the local community. We are committed to the continuation of bringing together the community and voluntary sector in Battersea: working together on projects and events that build capacity, develop partnerships and engage with local people with the aim of strengthening the sector. It is important that we are driven by your suggestions for how we can best do this.

Therefore the organising group will be getting in touch with local groups in Battersea over the coming months to find out more about what happened as a result of Battersea Charities Week, what they need to do their community work more effectively and to generate more ideas about how to bring people together who want to make a difference.

To set up a meeting, contact us on [email protected] or through social media (see contact details), or wait for us to get in touch with you.

Thank you

A special thank you to everyone who took part throughout Battersea Charities Week, to the venues who kindly offered spaces for free, and to the organising group for taking the time and effort to bring #BatterseaTogether.

Want to be involved in organising events to empower Battersea? Let us know!

Please follow us and get in touch!

Contact:      [email protected]

Facebook:   @batterseacharities

Twitter:      @batterseachar

Thank you from the Battersea Charities Week organising group

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