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A scheme which has provided millions of pounds’ worth of support to community groups across the East Midlands is in danger of closure.

ProHelp gives local groups, clubs and charities free access to a wide range of professional services they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. But now the scheme itself needs an urgent cash injection to continue operating.

Over the past 20 years ProHelp has supported thousands of projects involving hundreds of voluntary organisations in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire – helping them to stay in existence and even safeguard jobs.

For the last six years, most of ProHelp’s running costs have been met by the European Regional Development Fund, but that backing ends in June.

£50,000 a year is needed to keep the scheme going so an appeal is being made to the wider business community to help make up the funding shortfall. Otherwise, ProHelp is likely to close by the end of 2015.

The unpaid support brokered through ProHelp is volunteered by local companies – including solicitors, accountants, architects, surveyors, PR consultants, graphic designers and IT advisors.

Richard Burkimsher, partner at Hawsons and Northamptonshire Chair of ProHelp, stated that:

“Since it began in the East Midlands 20 years ago, ProHelp has:

  • Helped more than 2,500 projects
  • Provided around 20,000 hours of services – the equivalent of more than 10 years of free support in total
  • Given free access to expertise estimated to be worth more than £2million

ProHelp member firms undertake one-off projects such as feasibility studies, structural surveys or property valuations, the development of marketing strategies or business plans – and provide all types of legal and financial advice.”

Richard added that: “like other ProHelp businesses, we believe in putting something back into the community and are proud to be involved but that we now need the whole business community to step up and help us keen this scheme going. If ProHelp were to cease operations, unfortunately the losers will be the charities and community groups of the East Midlands.”

For further information and sponsorship opportunities please contact Richard.  

Richard Burkimsher provides advice and consultancy services to a growing portfolio of family owned businesses and also works with a number of international groups and charities, and is experienced in dealing with acquisitions and mergers. For more information, please contact Richard on [email protected] or 01604 645 600.

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