Doing Good for Nothing in Cambridge

Alasdair North - 

For the last few years I've given up a day every fortnight to work for charity. Most of this time has gone to supporting Cambridge Youth for Christ in various ways. While I've been able to help them a lot in this time, I've always felt there was more I could be doing for Cambridge charities in general.

We've got a lot of talent in our city. From the world beating companies like Arm and Redgate right down to the quality small compaines like Fluent, there's plenty for us to be proud of. I think there's great potential to use some of what we've got to help out the local community.

At the end of January I went down to London for a weekend event organised by Good for Nothing. The idea was to bring together designers, thinkers, and techies in order to help out charities and social enterprises. Three organisations came with challenges for us; we split off into groups and worked on solving them. These challenges involved a range of skills, some people helped refine a funding pitch, some redesigned publicity material, and others started building a database system for tracking plants.

The weekend was great fun, and I met a lot of interesting people. It was also inspiring. Seeing everyone getting stuck in really made it clear to me what I'd like to do for charities in Cambridge. I want to put on a Good for Nothing event here. I want to bring together the skill & talent we have in this city and use it to help our community.

I'm not on my own in this. I met Helen Morris down in London, and we've now got together with Lou Shackleton and Mel Findlater of the You Can Hub. It's early days yet, but the current plan is to put something on in September. We'd love to do it as part of Good for Nothing, as long as they'll have us.

Does this idea inspire you too? We're on the lookout for a couple more co-organisers, particularly people with graphic design or marketing and communications experience. Get in touch with me on Twitter if you'd like to join us. If you haven't got the time for that then we'll also need a venue and sponsorship. It's a great opportunity to get your name in front of a cross section of talent, as well as doing something good for Cambridge. And, of course, you can support us by coming along in September!

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I'm the CTO of viaLibri, a director and web developer at Runway, and an active member of St. Barnabas Church.

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