The Clare Foundation team was pleased to host Doing Good Together our Summer Business and Charity Networking event on Wednesday 28th June. Our venue for the afternoon was Missenden Walled Garden, a registered charity, based at the back of the Missenden Abbey estate in Great Missenden, Bucks.
The event brought together Buckinghamshire based business professionals, charity leaders and senior leaders from the public sector. It was a great opportunity for like-minded individuals who care about their community, to meet and chat and exchange ideas.
Chair of Trustees at The Clare Foundation, Robin Walker opened the event and shared our aims for the coming year. Highlighting our desire to bring about meaningful collaborations between businesses and charitable organisations, to facilitate and create positive change across society in Buckinghamshire.
A Good Thing
Our keynote speaker was Anna Rose Bowler, Marketing and Communications Lead at A Good Thing, who explained how their online platform brings businesses and charities together. Their idea is simple: businesses are generating too much waste, while many charities are in need of more resources. What if we can connect the two? Local husband and wife team, Cathy and Richard Benwell, founded the organisation in 2021 in the Thames Valley area with some fantastic results and are now excited to scale the idea to charities and businesses across the UK. Anna shared some powerful case study examples of how charities have benefitted from “matches” on the A Good Thing app and remarked:
“It was a jam-packed evening full of networking, chatting, presentations and tasty food! It was such a good event that people were reluctant to leave! I was thrilled to meet so many people who have championed A Good Thing from the start, as well as meeting lots of new businesses and charities who were equally enthusiastic and supportive – thank you for making us so welcome.”
Missenden Walled Garden
Next, we heard from our host, Kyle Banks, Director of the Missenden Walled Garden, who shared their history, and the scope of their work today. Originally The Walled Garden was run by Buckinghamshire Council as a centre for adults with disabilities, but it was threatened with closure in 2017. It was at this time that a dedicated and passionate group of parents and local supporters stepped in to save the centre and created the registered charity. Missenden Walled Garden now provides day support for 50 people with disabilities or mental health issues, with members aged from 18 years to 70+! Kyle shared that a typical day includes a mix of outdoor work and educational opportunities such as: garden maintenance and mower operation, along with, indoor activities within the education centre, including art and music. The Charity also delivers external gardening activities, where they take small groups of members into the community. Kyle said how grateful the charity is to Buckinghamshire New University who lease the Walled Garden with a peppercorn rent as part of their commitment to community partnership working.
The Walled Garden provided the perfect backdrop for a relaxed and pleasant outdoor summer event, many of our guests had been unaware of the Missenden Walled Garden’s existence before they received their invitation, so it was great to showcase the work of this wonderful charity.
One of our business guests commented:
“It was great to attend this event, hearing about so many charities working to improve lives was heart-warming.”