We catch up with Josie Howard from the Semble team to find out how this community platform can help your group connect with other groups, business and volunteers to make change happen . . .

What is Semble?
Semble (formerly Project Dirt) is the UK’s most active platform for community groups. Through our site, groups can get support, celebrate their successes, add events and get involved with campaigns. We also make sure that local projects get the support they deserve by partnering them with brilliant businesses and volunteers. It’s our goal that regularly volunteering to help your local community becomes a normal part of life for everyone!

How can Semble help community groups be more connected?
Our name means to bring people together to make a change, so naturally we stand for helping community groups to get more connected to make the world a better place. Community groups can make project pages on our site, where they are then searchable and can showcase their projects to others. This way, you can share updates, find other projects in your area to collaborate with, or get inspired by other projects further afield. Equally, anyone can use the site as a directory to find projects that they can get involved with.

Of course, we don’t just connect community groups online, we also run events to help our community movers and shakers to meet one another face to face and get support.

In what practical ways does Semble support community groups to grow and be more sustainable?
Semble supports community groups to grow and be more sustainable by managing corporate grant funding campaigns that give community projects a financial boost to undertake new projects, to improve how they run or to get new equipment. We also offer support and advice to community projects, at events like our recent Make Some Noise event, a day of workshops around using social media, getting corporate support, writing press releases and much more. Finally, we post resources on our website to help people and groups to develop their community projects.

What support does Semble provide for businesses that want to make a difference in their community? 
Semble acts as a bridge between businesses and small community projects, managing community engagement campaigns, grants and corporate volunteer days. We’re helping businesses like Carling, Greggs and Legal & General to be true to their brand values by linking them up with grassroots community projects to help make a difference in their local areas.

We also support businesses by researching, planning and undertaking exciting and impactful community engagement activities to get involved in. Finally, we have coordinated the participation of over 4,200 corporate volunteers in volunteering days with projects from our network. These volunteers have done everything from laying safety surfaces at adventure playgrounds, to helping out at soup kitchens, to DIY projects at community centres.

How does Semble help community groups promote the work they are doing and build support for their cause?
At Semble we love to share the good news about the amazing work that the community groups in our network are doing! We believe that through supporting great storytelling, we can inspire others to get involved, and drive participation in community activity. We also share social media posts from projects in our network on our social media pages, and feature events and activities from community groups in our newsletters. Finally, we love to get out of the office to visit projects around the UK and feature them on our Semble blog.

How can groups connect with Semble and find out more?
You can create a project page for your group and join our network - it’s absolutely free and we’d love to see you there! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter to hear what we and other projects have been up to (sign up at bottom right of the Semble homepage).