£450,000 over three years (grant made in 2016)
Place – revitalising community life
Grants Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Locality is a national network of community-led organisations. Its Lifeboat programme supports organisations in financial or organisational difficulty through financial planning, training, mediation and securing income. Locality had a good track record and could evidence that 80% of organisations it worked with had improved their situation and achieved greater sustainability. It was able to identify triggers for crises and take a more preventive approach. Our funding meant it could work with organisations at medium, as well as high, risk. The addition of a small loans fund was innovative and could leverage in other funding through social investment. At a time when small organisations are finding themselves under pressure due to increasing demand for services and ongoing cuts from local authorities, Lifeboat is a much needed service. Locality supports valuable community organisations and helps them to thrive. This work is a strong match with our Place priority.
Marketing Manager, Locality
The community business approached Locality for help through the Lifeboat programme to develop a sustainable business model that is less reliant on grant funding. The organisation has a variety of income streams from trading with the public and commissions form other organisations. Around 30% to 40% of income secured historically has been from a number of charitable grants, but over the last five years, grant income has reduced and the organisation’s expenditure has exceeded income, mainly due to a staffing structure that has not flexed to match secured income. By November 2016, this resulted in reserves depleting to zero and no plan of action in place to solve the critical situation the organisation was faced with.
Applying for support from the Lifeboat service has helped the Board to understand the financial situation and commit to agreeing a staffing restructure that will align to income. Locality is helping the organisation to look at the cost savings that need to be made and is helping to model different staffing options. Support has been received to understand the process of voluntary and compulsory redundancies and to write a business case to justify a staffing restructure. Advice was given to split the budget into cost codes and apportion running costs, to help understand which areas of the business were generating a surplus and which were making losses. 1:1 support has also been provided to ensure that VAT procedures are correct and this is now being incorporated into Quickbooks.
The support has been invaluable. Prior to the Lifeboat support kicking in I was feeling totally unsupported by my board and fully responsible for the finances of the organisation and the security of staff jobs. The support from Locality has made me create a healthier distance between myself and the organisation, delegate some tasks and most importantly has made the board review their responsibilities and acknowledge that they need to be more dynamic and bring in new skills. Introducing cost centre budgeting has made staff feel more in control and they have become more involved in income generation planning and marketing. I am feeling more positive about the future of our organisation and even about possible redundancies.
21 January 2020
Tel: 020 7812 3700
Charity No. 200051