Ealing Based Start Up's App Could Be Boon For Volunteering

vHelp aims to make it easier and cheaper to reimburse expenses

vHelp aims to make it easier and cheaper to reimburse expenses

A new service from Ealing-based digital start-up vHelp promises to make it simple, faster and cheaper for charities and voluntary organisations to reimburse volunteers’ expenses.

Up until now it has complicated and expensive to pay out of pocket expenses for people helping out on a voluntary basis but vHelp Expenses allows charities to automatically transfer money to volunteers through a secure online payment system. The money is guaranteed to arrive in the volunteer’s bank account within 48 hours of the charity approving the payment.

Organisations simply need to sign up to the service and then ask their volunteers to download the vHelp app to their mobile phones. The app is available for both Android and iOS users.

vHelp has been developed by Ealing-based tech entrepreneurs Randa Bennett and Patricia Salume. The co-founders created VeeLoop, the online approval and payment service to help young people shop online, in 2017 and are the current entrepreneur-in-residence at the Westmount Enterprise Hub at the University of West London.

Last week, VeeLoop was shortlisted for Resilient SME Innovator of the Year, and Software Business of the Year at the West London Business Awards 2021.

The pair created vHelp earlier this year after they grew concerned at the lack of secure ways for vulnerable residents to reimburse volunteers for shopping during the initial lockdown. They have since gone on to develop vHelp Expenses to help address the issue many charities face reimbursing volunteer expenses.

vHelp has found it costs charities as much as £18 in administration costs to process a single £6 expense claim. They say that using the vHelp Expenses app, the cost falls to less than £1.

Charities and voluntary organisations that sign up to vHelp Expenses before 1 January 2021 will receive the app for free for an initial two-month trial.   

The co-founders said: “The issue of repaying volunteer expenses arose time and time again in our conversations with charities. Many continue to use outdated ways of reimbursing expenses for volunteers, which ultimately costs them time and money that could be better spent on the front line. 

“vHelp Expenses makes it simple and, in many cases, considerably cheaper for charities to repay volunteers. It also makes repayment considerably faster for volunteers who all too often are left out of pocket for long periods of time.”  


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December 2, 2020