CMPP Twilight Runway Challenge

Published: Wednesday 26 August 2020 by CMPP

For a Hampshire/Surrey charity that does its best work facilitating opportunities for corporate volunteers to take part in school, community and volunteer organisation projects, Coronavirus was going to impact its activities particularly badly.

This was the early realisation of Tracy Jarvis, the visionary founder of Community Matters Partnership project (CMPP). Jarvis said. “I founded CMPP 10 years ago. I wanted to help schools and community groups access corporate volunteers more easily, as the pool of retired volunteers was starting to fall. It came at a time, back in 2010, when businesses were realising they needed to deliver on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) promises otherwise customers would start to interpret them as having ‘no substance’, and another example of corporates over-promising and under-delivering.

In the last 18 months in particular, our activities accelerated. We achieved charity status in May 2019, created a leadership team (including Paul Marcus Ex-MD, Eagle Radio) and a trustee board that were helping to bring a real clarity to my initial vision. Businesses and councils were responding positively to our message of helping to shape and deliver a company’s CSR programme.

COVID19 literally stopped our work in its tracks.

A planned programme of Community Action Days (CADs) benefitting hundreds of people and their communities stopped, our work with schools ceased and our principal annual fundraising event, The Twilight Runway Challenge at Blackbushe Airport was cancelled.

I decided to furlough the whole team, myself included. To all intents and purposes, CMPP was moth-balled. As a charity, the last thing you want to do is disappear off anyone’s radar and I’m grateful to our volunteers for keeping our name out there on social media during lockdown.

I’ll be honest with you, there were some personal moments of doubt. Our operating model is based on generating revenue from events, (like the twilight runway challenge) and business partner membership subscriptions. Both became severely squeezed. On the plus side, the charity’s finances were in sound health and I had conviction that our CSR broker service would be even more important to companies as they re-positioned their customer brand offerings.

The support and goodwill of CMPP’s partners has been immense. Take Blackbushe Airport. The Twilight Runway Challenge is now scheduled for Saturday 26 September. Adults, children and families can all take part, covering different distances either on foot or by bicycle. We have five charity partners for the event:

  • Phyllis Tuckwell
  • Aerobility
  • Frimley Park Hospital (Stroke Appeal)
  • Harry’s Hydrocephalus Awareness Trust
  • Mustard Seed 
  • Shots Foundation 
  • Hampshire Home start 
  • Yateley Industries

This means local people can take part and raise funds for their preferred charity and the charity receives 100% of the proceeds. Our aim is for 1,000 people to take part. People can register for the event at www.twilightchallenge.co.uk

We received further encouragement at the start of July when Government announced that volunteering projects would re-start in groups of up to 30 people. This has coincided with a gradual return to work of some of the team and our Community Action Days have started up again.

Our work and our profile is rising once more. Surrey Chambers of Commerce have partnered with us to offer a free 6 month CMPP membership to its members. We are talking with councils in Surrey Heath and Woking about ways to deliver CSR projects for businesses located in these boroughs. Over the summer we move to a new HQ location at Tomlinscote School, so Frimley becomes our new base (before, we were in Farnborough).

I predict that recruiting new business partners (of all sizes) will be the priority for the remainder of this year and into 2021. There is a growing body of evidence that ‘buying local’ and ‘community consideration’ will become more important when consumers make choices between brands in the same market. Our new brochure explains more about the rise of ‘conscious consumerism’ and how CMPP is able to deliver a company’s CSR programme, including corporate volunteering. Teams working together on projects in schools and in the community has a far greater galvanising effect in my view than a paint balling event! Our reflections and thinking has led us to a new tag line for CMPP which we believe sums up our reason for being perfectly. CMPP – Connecting Business With Community.

Tracy Jarvis was talking to Nick Shrimpton from Sixth Sense Marketing.

Click to learn more about the Twilight Runway Challenge