DCMS blog

#LocalCharitiesDay: Nottingham’s Renewal Trust thinks big

Cherry Underwood

by

CEO, The Renewal Trust

We may be local, but that doesn’t mean we don’t think big

We’re lucky enough to work in one of the most vibrant areas of the UK, home to diverse cultures, a strong sense of community spirit and a belief in doing what you’re passionate about – whether that’s music, sport, dance, gardening, spoken word, running your own business, helping others or anything in between.

There are loads of amazing people doing brilliant things here in the St Ann’s, Sneinton and Mapperley neighbourhoods of Nottingham and it’s the Renewal Trust‘s job to support that. We help children, young people, adults and communities to do the things they love, discover the opportunities they deserve and get the practical support they need to thrive.

This is what we do from Renewal Trust on Vimeo.

For example, we help local community groups and projects to set up and grow; provide affordable activities for families including sports and fitness sessions for all ages at our local Brendon Lawrence Sports Centre; give local people the chance to work with some of the UK’s best-known artists and creative organisations; and support people back into work, or to start a business of their own.

We’re also the name behind many of the things that make this area stand out, including St Ann’s Allotments, one of the largest urban allotment sites in the world.

Whatever we do, we try not to do it by halves. So, for example, when we launched our new sports programme for local children, we included everything from football and cricket to dance, archery and wrestling, and partnered with major sports clubs to give talented young people a way to progress all the way to the top. Similarly, we didn’t just give young people in our communities the chance to discover dance with Birmingham Royal Ballet, we gave them the chance to choreograph and perform their own ballet, at Nottingham’s leading venue.

Why is Local Charities Day important?

Local charities respond directly to local need, in a way that bigger charities can’t. As a local organisation, we’re part of the community but more than that, local people are part of the Renewal Trust and the projects we run – including staff, volunteers and Trustees. It’s important to point out that like many local charities, we’re also a local employer. Over 40% of our staff are from the communities we work alongside, with others living nearby.

That means our services are designed with and by the community, rather than for them and that helps to give communities confidence and a raised platform to talk from, as well as opening doors to more opportunities.

In addition, local charities are vital in terms of sharing information and insights about local communities with larger organisations, helping to shape public services that meet people’s needs. Most importantly of all, local charities give communities a voice and a way to be heard and seen in their true light. This is becoming increasingly important as communities like ours are often tarred with unfair and misleading labels, fuelled by so-called ‘poverty porn’.

It’s easy for local charities to go under the radar, rarely appearing in the national media or on TV – despite working tirelessly day in, day out to support people’s needs. That’s why initiatives like Local Charities Day are so important, to recognise these unsung heroes.

Local charities have long been the cornerstone of communities but in the challenging economic climate of the last few years they’ve increasingly had to fill the gap left by cuts to public services for example. I hope Local Charities Day helps to recognise the enormous value of local charities to communities throughout the UK, plus of course the value of communities themselves.

We’ll be celebrating the value of communities throughout December as well as on #LocalCharitiesDay, by collecting nominations for our annual Volunteer Achievement Awards, which recognise the amazing contribution of both individual volunteers and local voluntary groups, giving them a well-earned place in the spotlight. Find out more about what we do on our website.

 

Support #LocalCharitiesDay now