Pro bono charity Pilotlight is calling for business leaders in the West Midlands to help local charities tackle the cost of living crisis.

With the support of The National Lottery Community Fund to expand its work in the region, the charity aims to partner with at least 250 experienced senior business leaders who will provide strategic coaching to help local charities become more effective and resilient.

Barclays’ Birmingham and Coventry offices, Birmingham headquartered insurance and financial services firm Wesleyan, Midcounties Co-operative, Lendlease, EY and Virgin Media 02 have already partnered with the charity to deliver its much-needed support.

Pilotlight amplifies the impact charities, business and individuals can have in their communities. It creates and manages programmes that address the many challenges faced by charities and provides them with the expertise and resources they need to thrive.

The charity was recently awarded almost £290,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, to help expand its work across the Midlands.

As Tom Leavesley-Matthews, Head of Partnerships at Pilotlight commented: “Business in the Midlands has a long, proud record of giving through charities and the opportunity to give in a new way, through the skills of your staff, can be a new chapter of public benefit. With support from the National Lottery, we ran a pilot programme over the pandemic which showed the extraordinary impact of using business skills to support local charities. This new programme is an opportunity for both businesses and charities in the region to benefit from this new model of charitable action through skills sharing.”

Peter Westall, Chief Values, Midcounties Co-operative said:

“The pandemic underlined what a vital role local charities, co-operatives and social enterprises play in their communities. Working with Pilotlight has also given further opportunities for our colleagues to use their existing skills, and develop new ones by partnering with local good causes to support what they do. It’s a win-win – and any business that has values will find good value in doing the same.”

Sharon Bell, CEO of Birmingham based charity Services for Education, and recipient of Pilotlight’s support said:
“Although a lot of our staff have business backgrounds, as an organisation we have to embrace more commercial ways of thinking – working with Pilotlight gave us the confidence that we’re doing the right thing. I was really impressed with the whole process – a lot was achieved in a relatively short space of time.”

Over the next three years Pilotlight will launch an ambitious programme of capacity building initiatives for up to 50 local charities, engaging local business and its leaders to help to cement its much needed support in the region. As well as supporting charities through its programmes, Pilotlight will also be offering peer learning opportunities across the Midlands and fully funded places for charity leaders to develop their leadership skills by becoming coaches on the Pilotlight 360 programme.

Claire Jopling, Senior Head of Regional Funding for the Midlands at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“Thanks to National Lottery players, Pilotlight can continue to support and build important networks between charities and businesses right across the Midlands region. This will allow organisations to better share knowledge and best practice, which will help communities access the tools they need to prosper and thrive.”
The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players, who raise over £30 million each week for good causes across the UK.