RSA backs 'Big Society' volunteering initiative

Your Square Mile: linked to Big Society project
Your Square Mile: linked to Big Society project

RSA has become the first brand to back the 'Big Society' project Your Square Mile (YSM) and has created an insurance product designed to enable members of the public to 'volunteer with confidence'.

The insurance group has developed a public liability insurance and personal accident policy, under the More Th>n brand, which is geared toward people who want to run community activities in their neighbourhoods.

These could range from staging a street party, to helping an old person in their own home or running a sports competition. Prohibitive public liability insurance has reportedly proved a barrier to involvement in recent years.

More Th>n will use direct and digital marketing to promote the tie-up when YSM launches in October. The brand will also have a presence on the YSM website, which is being revamped to coincide with its official launch.

YSM is a mutual, not-for-profit organisation that aims to provide a one-stop shop for any form of volunteering or civic action.

It is intended to provide a 'toolkit' to enable people to 'give and receive more' from their community. It also offers a buying club with the power to negotiate tangible benefits from businesses, retailers, leisure providers and local authorities. The initiative has been supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.

With the number of public events set to increase next year because of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics, YSM said the deal with RSA is timely.

The organisation is seeking further sponsors, offering tiered packages at national, regional and local level.

There will be no more than four UK-wide partners, one each for YSM Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. There will also be partners for counties and major cities as well as for individual neighbourhoods.

Paul Twivy, founder and chief executive of YSM, said brands signing up would be able to use their connection to the project in their CSR and employee programmes.

'Business partners will be able to offer discounted products and services that are relevant,' he added.

YSM was devised by Twivy during his previous role as the chief executive of the Big Society Network (BSN).

The BSN has always said it is independent, though Cameron spoke at its launch last year and it was run by Conservative peer Lord Wei until recently.

Lord Wei attracted controversy last year when it was reported he was cutting down on voluntary work to 'have more of a life'. He is now a 'Big Society tsar'. Twivy stressed that YSM has no formal links to the BSN.

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