It’s a match! Happily Dating gets website redesign through volunteer match on Media Trust’s Volunteer Platform

Posted 2 October 2020

This year charities have needed volunteer support with their digital communications more than ever. Media Trust’s Volunteer Platform has matched over 100 charities and volunteers since the Covid-19 pandemic began, including a partnership between friendship and dating non-profit Happily Dating and self-taught web and design expert Julia Bhojoo.

Happily Dating

Happily Dating is a family run non-profit matching service for adults with learning disabilities and autism to find friendships and dating opportunities in West London. Happily Dating work with local families, charities and organisations to provide a safe environment for isolated and vulnerable adults to meet new people and build relationships.

Helena Reed, Founder & Director at Happily Dating, created the organisation in 2017 after her first-hand experience of helping her younger sister, who has learning difficulties, find love and friendship.

As a volunteer herself, Helena felt she did not possess all the relevant skills to create the professional looking website that the charity needed to succeed, nor the budget to make any changes. After initially being unsure on how to proceed, Helena spoke with The Fore, a seed funder for the non-profit sector, who recommended Media Trust’s Volunteer Platform.

Designs with digital accessibility at the forefront

Happily Dating needed a variety of functions added to their website so that the organisation could shout loud about all the fantastic work they do, secure new funding grants and boost their fundraising. The original requirements included adding a blog page to share latest news and updates, creating a fundraising page that would encourage donations and adding an area to display the partners they work with.

Through Media Trust’s Volunteer Platform, Happily Dating were matched with Julia Bhojoo. Julia previously worked as a legal information professional in law firms and set up LawLibWiki. Her passions lay with understanding how things work, and in particular websites. Taking her interests further, Julia told Media Trust that she started taking evening and online coding classes to develop her skills and understanding.

 

I wanted to help charities and other communities spend less time dealing with tech issues relating to their website and more time showcasing the amazing work they have been doing!

Julia Bhojoo

The new Happily Dating homepage

After an initial conversation on the phone with Helena, Julia was able to make all the amends and tweaks requested and more. Recognising the importance of digital accessibility, especially for charities, Julia made sure that this was incorporated into the redesign of the Happily Dating website.

Julia sent Helena regular email updates during the three-month redesign detailing progress on the project, with Helena sending regular feedback the other way. Helena said, “the communication was brilliant, and I had complete trust and faith in Julia to make our website look great!”

An everlasting impact

After launching the new website in August, Helena is delighted that they are now able to keep everyone updated about the work they are doing which is particularly useful for potential members and funders who want to see the positive impact that Happily Dating is making.

We are trying to grow our membership and secure more funding to continue to support our Happily members - we hope that our new website will help with this!

Helena Reed, Founder & Director, Happily Dating

Following the website launch, Julia is still connected with Happily Dating and has agreed to stay on as a website developer to continue providing vital support in maintaining the new website. Julia has also continued to help other charities through Media Trust’s Volunteer Platform including Disability Law Service and Mind (Buckinghamshire).

“Volunteering through the Media Trust has had such a beneficial impact on me. It’s allowed me to connect with charities and wonderful individuals that have shared their vision with me and let me help reach their goals. Volunteering has also allowed me to build a portfolio to showcase my volunteering work and apply to further opportunities with the Media Trust.” Julia Bhojoo

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