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JOIN THE 'YEAR OF 100 MONKEYS' AND SUPPORT LOCAL CHARITIES

Those in the West of England who love backing local independent shops can now support local charities as well, using a new home grown website. The new site brings hundreds of small community groups together under the catchy name “giveamonkeys.co.uk”.

There are hundreds of fantastic small charities doing great work across the West of England. But how do you find them? How can you check them out, be sure they are really doing good work and will spend the money wisely?

That’s where giveamonkeys.co.uk comes in. By joining giveamonkeys.co.uk, individuals and local firms will build new funds exclusively for charities based in the west. When they are big enough, Quartet Community Foundation will invite applications for grants, and distribute the cash.

For 27 years they’ve been helping companies and individuals who want to support charities working here. Last year, they handed out £2.9m of grants to nearly a thousand local groups.

Now they have built a website to make local philanthropy easy for everyone.

In fact, 2015 has been declared “The Year of 100 Monkeys”. The organisers are challenging 100 businesses and individuals to Give a Monkey - £500. For just over £40 a month, individuals and businesses can together raise a big fund, £50,000, for great local causes. And donations can be made, of course, in Bristol Pounds.

Already, 15 firms have signed up to give one of the ‘100 Monkeys’, including iconic local business, Bristol Blue Glass.

“We believe charity should begin at home,” said Suzie Adlington of Bristol Blue Glass. You can’t really get much more Bristol than the blue glass-blowers of Brislington, and they signed up like a shot.

“We like the simplicity, we like keeping our money local, and we kinda like the attitude of giveamonkeys, “ she added.

These days the charity world is every bit as tough and competitive as the retailing High Street. Local charities fight with national brands to be seen, and to have their voice heard. Often they are closer to the really important front line work.

They know what needs to be done, and they usually have smaller admin teams. But they are far less well known than big national charities.

Giveamonkeys.co.uk gives a big voice to small local charities, and enables all donors to make a huge difference. That's what attracted one of Bristol’s largest commercial law firms Thrings. Partner, James Myatt, explained the decision to give to giveamonkeys.co.uk.

James said: “This is a fantastic idea, and a great opportunity for the people and businesses of Bristol, B&NES, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to give money in 2015 to charitable projects that will directly benefit vulnerable members of their local communities.”

“It’s really easy to take part – simply commit to giving £500 to the scheme by the end of 2015. Thrings has signed up – get your business to do so too. Offer to help raise the money - how many cakes do you need to bake and sell to hit the target? Join in and show that, like us, you Giveamonkeys about your local community.”

For years, local charities have relied on a few wealthy philanthropists. Now they are being joined by an army of smaller independent businesses and individuals.

Do those living in the West of England care enough about their local charities to put their money, their monkey even, where their mouths are? In short – Does West of England give a monkeys?”

• Giveamonkeys is a new social media tool run by Quartet, the Community Foundation for the West of England, which has been running for 27 years. Last year it distributed £2.96m to 886 charities based in Bristol, Bath & NE Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. For more information on Quartet or the detail of the scheme, contact Chief Executive Caroline Duckworth 0117 989 7700 caroline.duckworth@quartetcf.org.uk