We advised a multinational company that has over 1300 retail outlets across the UK and an annual turnover of £170 million. The business was keen to find a charity close to it’s roots, where it had always had it’s headquarters, and find volunteering opportunities for employees that would see a positive impact in the communities where they, and their families, reside.

We scoured the local area, mapping the voluntary groups and social enterprises, seeking a suitably connected organisation. We identified a grass roots charitable group with which the business had identifiable connections going back to 1937, connections that it had lost.

We worked with the community group and the retailer to compose a new business plan that would save the group from closure. With the centre we agreed a complete restructure of the governance, creating a new board of trustees for which we recruited people with particular skills. Some of the new trustees worked for the retailer and had expressed a willingness to volunteer in the local community.

When we found the centre it had only enough resources to tide it over for the next few weeks. When our work there finished just over a year later it had:

  • enough funds in the bank to pay the bills for the next year
  • a cost-free refurbishment of the food bank in the style of a green grocers shop
  • migrated to a different food bank model more suited to it’s aims and customers
  • a refurbishment plan for the whole centre
  • a new fundraising subgroup
  • a freshly furnished contemporary community cafe
  • a soft play area with a particular purpose, for children on the autistic spectrum
  • a volunteer postgrad business studies student to continually monitor the sustainability of the centre’s business plan
  • architects drawings and plans for a major extension
  • a plan for the business partner to match-fund the construction of the planned extension
  • a PR and Communications expert, volunteering, sourced through the Chartered Institute of Public Relations
  • a subgroup with the sole purpose of arranging an event that would celebrate the connection between the business and the centre, at the centre’s 80th birthday celebrations in 2017

The centre now has an unforeseen opportunity to plan a role for itself in the community that would not have been previously possible, to take it forward for the next twenty years, to it’s centenary.