Local Giving Scheme launched in Northampton by ‘secret millionaires’

The launch of Localgiving.com at Spring Boroughs Family Centre.
The launch of Localgiving.com at Spring Boroughs Family Centre.

TWO ‘secret millionaires’ have helped to launch a project that will match £20,000 of fund-raising for charities in the county.

The Local Giving scheme, founded by Marcelle Speller, who featured on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire programme in August 2010, will enable small and unregistered charities and groups to double their donations during match funding events that will take place throughout the year.

Groups will also be given their own webpage at www.localgiving. com.

At the launch in Spring Boroughs Family Centre, in Tower Street, Northampton, yesterday, Local Giving co-ordinator for the county, Sarah Sweet-Rowley, said: “We want it to enable these groups doing really key work to fund-raise, and this is a simple way to do that.

“To small charities and groups that need to fund-raise to keep doing their work this is a real lifeline.”

The first match funding event will run from May 14 to June 1. A pot of £20,000 from Northamptonshire County Council’s small grants programme will be available to charitable groups, which can match funding of up to £1,000 each.

Thomas Tansey, the council’s strategic third sector development manager, said when the community foundation approached him with the idea for the project it was a “no-brainer.” He said: “For the money we put in the overall investment in the community will be £44,000. It really is that simple. That’s great value for taxpayers.”

The Local Giving initiative has gained more than 1,600 members nationwide since Marcelle Speller first came up with the idea in 2007, in what she described as a “lightbulb moment”.

During a national event last month, £375,000 of funding from the Government was matched in 28 hours.

Ms Speller, a dot-com entrepreneur, said: “I decided I wanted to do something worthwhile with my money.

“The people that really moved me were small local charities.

“The big charities do great stuff but the local people on the rockface really inspired me. They are the glue that holds communities together.

“I thought not only are these people amazing, they’re threatened and if they’re too small to be registered they’re even more threatened.”

Mike Greene, a Peterborough-based businessman, sold his company after appearing on Secret Millionaire last November.

Now an ambassador for Local Giving, Mr Greene was also at the launch yesterday. He said: “Local Giving raises awareness through the website, it creates support and that in turn creates funding.”

The project is being co-ordinated locally by the Northamptonshire Community Foundation.

Chief executive Victoria Miles has urged groups and charities to sign up. She said: “It’s a great way to raise unrestricted funds and a very forward thinking approach to fund-raising.”

People interested in registering can contact the Northamptonshire Community Foundation on Northampton 230033.