St. Petroc's Society

St. Petroc’s Society is a charity that works with homeless people in Cornwall. They have 85 bedrooms in 13 properties across the county, run resource centres where people can shower,  get food, and receive advice and support to find housing, provide emergency cold weather provisions and much more.

They also have outreach workers across Cornwall.  As Lois Wild, Volunteer Coordinator at St. Petroc’s explained: “our outreach workers find and identify homeless people sleeping in caves, cars and cowshed, woods and shop doorways. Many homeless people hide away. A huge number have complex health issues and many have been publicly attacked or humiliated – there are stories of people being urinated on, abused and beaten up and their tents trashed.”

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St. Petroc’s Society became a Localgiving member in 2014 having been recommended the platform by their local community foundation - since joining they have raised over £100,000.

“The ability to receive donations online made an immediate difference”, Lois said. “This gave us an added air of professionalism and importantly enabled us to accept direct debits.  The fact that online donations were not ring-fenced for specific projects meant we could put this money towards emergency cold weather provisions and core costs…The ability to claim GiftAid through Localgiving also saved our Director of Finance a huge amount of time and gave a huge boost to our donations”.

St. Petroc’s Society have made particularly good use of fundraising pages.  Since they joined, 120 people have raised over £40,000 through individuals carrying out fundraising challenges - ranging from sleep-outs at the Eden project, to quiz nights to wild swims.

Lois believes that the ability to raise funds online, particularly through individual fundraising pages, has helped them to inspire younger people and local businesses to become involved in their work.

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“(Fundraising pages) allow people to take ownership of the campaign, setting their own targets and challenge. We target young people and businesses for our big fundraisers such as our sleep-outs – both are computer literate and social media savvy. Local businesses often use our campaigns as team building exercises, as well as for their CSR”.

St. Petroc’s have also taken advantage of a number of Localgiving’s match fund campaigns and free resources. As Lois explained: “Grow your tenner (Match fund) has been fantastic, allowing us to double our donations at an important time in our fundraising calendar…I have attended webinars with fundraising tips on how to engage new fundraisers which really reassured me”.

Over the next few years, St. Petroc's Society aim to expand their supporter base, particularly through increasing their use of social media. They see the online fundraising capability given to them through their Localgiving membership as a key part of this.

To find out more about St. Petroc’s Society's life-changing work, donate, or volunteer please visit: http://www.stpetrocs.org.uk/.

St. Petroc’s also recommend taking action via Streetlink to connect people sleeping rough with the local charities and support services nearest them.