ProHelp launches web site for London groups

ANNIE KELLY

A new web site is launching to help London-based voluntary organisations broker relationships with professional companies for advice and pro-bono project work.

ProHelp London is part of an initiative by Business In The Community to forge stronger links between charities and business professionals such as architects, lawyers and accountants.

This is the first regional site launched by the scheme and Rosanna Henderson, manager at ProHelp, said it reflects the level of demand for the service in the capital. "Obviously there are a huge number of both professional firms and charities that operate in London, and the possibilities to extend this scheme are endless,

she said. "A dedicated web site will allow us not only to broaden our impact with existing members, but hopefully get new businesses on side and allow more voluntary organisations to benefit from professional expertise."

Organisations can use the site, www.prohelp-london.org.uk, to research possible business partners and liaise with ProHelp.

The site will particularly address the needs of London community groups which may need help with projects such as structural surveys and valuations, architectural plans and legal advice.

Henderson hopes the launch of the London site will encourage other regional ProHelp managers to develop similar sites to broaden the reach of their operations.

"There is a limit to how much ProHelp staff can get out into communities, and a regional web site allows a very tailored service,

she said. "On the site we can also provide case studies and other examples of exactly how the service works."

Future plans include an online brokering service that will allow voluntary organisations and companies to interact through the site.

ProHelp was launched as a network of companies that offer free professional and strategic support to the voluntary sector. As well as a brokering service, it runs a Business on Board scheme that arranges for skilled people to sit on the boards of charities.

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