I come from a working-class background in Glasgow and my dream was always to play golf professionally.
The support I received from the local community and grassroots sport organisations enabled me to pursue that dream and achieve a golf scholarship in America.
I’ll never forget that support.
Now I have a chance to give something back by applying my experience in a unique organisation that has the ability to have a huge impact on so many people.
But how do I do that with GiveToLocal?
My personal experience means I have a keen appreciation of the link between businesses and community sport. I understand how vital it is to nourish those relationships so that they benefit both sides.
With that in mind my focus is to support and impact businesses through the GiveToLocal network. Recently we’ve seen many businesses having to adapt and evolve as a result of Covid-19.
And GiveToLocal provides those businesses with a huge opportunity to connect to their local community, make a difference and network in a way that they may never have been able to before.
It provides community-focused businesses with opportunities to broaden their reach by opening them up to new conversations and new relationships — at a time when the ability to do that has been negatively affected by the year we’ve all just been through.
It’s important that we do what we can to help our local communities, particularly the local clubs and small businesses which sit at the heart of those communities. Irrespective of how and where you operate as a business right now, everyone’s been affected by Covid-19.
And that’s the common thread for us — the belief in everyone’s power to do good. More than that, it’s the enthusiasm which is apparent when people are presented with that opportunity to do good and the chance to work together towards a bright future.
The sports clubs we work with are looking for consistent income, financial sustainability and support for their future.
Local businesses are no different. Just as we link clubs with donors and sponsors, we’re welcoming businesses into our growing network and helping them to start conversations with like-minded organisations.
We know that the synergy is there and we make it our priority to establish meaningful connections that can have a lasting impact.
Just as we’re reaching out to larger, national corporates to support the work we do, smaller local businesses are also turning to GiveToLocal to offer their support.
Our network is such that we can direct that support to where it can have a meaningful and lasting impact. And we’ll provide the transparency to those businesses to ensure them of that.
The telephone conversations and video calls I’m having with regional and local businesses right now remind me why I’m doing this job. The responses to what we can offer are so enthusiastic.
I haven’t seen such a consistent level of enthusiasm across the board with anything else I’ve ever been part of. I think that says it all.
Common to all of our partners is a real sense of community.
Being forced apart over this last year has been tough. Removing the ability to meet in person and to make new connections means business leaders are really hoping to rediscover the sense of community that underpinned their firms in the first place. In many cases the coronavirus pandemic has stripped that away.
I honestly feel GiveToLocal can be the catalyst for a new sense of community. We can bring back what’s been taken away. That’s what really excites me.
We’re not reinventing the wheel — we’re simply reminding people of what’s already here and what’s always been there: an army of local sports clubs who need support and a raft of businesses representing the heartbeat of their local community.
Why wouldn’t you want to support that in any way you can?
I think backing local businesses gives us an additional reason for what we’re doing. When I first spoke to the senior team about coming on board, it was clear that local businesses and the local economy are as important to the core of GiveToLocal as the sports clubs.
At a community sport level there are many reasons why GiveToLocal’s support is so vital and impactful.
But our engagement with community businesses is also vitally important — utilising our network, getting the word out there and galvanising that support. That’s what makes my job worthwhile.
And I feel as if I’m finally able to repay some of the debt of gratitude that I owe to all of those people and businesses who helped me realise my own sporting ambitions back in the day.
James Rooney, Corporate Relations Manager