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Business support in Scotland

February 6, 2017

Maureen laughing in the Senior CentreGood news! We have partnered with the Social Investment Business to provide business support over the next three years to empower the people that support their communities through grant-funded activity.

If you are a current grant holder we may be able to link you up with an independent business advisor who can enable you to make great things happen through one–to-one and group support and mentoring.

A range of support can be provided to your group, including:

  • Business planning
  • Financial management
  • Good governance
  • Policy development
  • Controls and best practice
  • Trading and income generation

Over the last five years more than 300 organisations have benefitted from the business support on offer, including the Senior Centre in Castlemilk who received a grant through our Investing in Communities programme.

In 2015, after being based in a building that was no longer fit for purpose, the Senior Centre moved into a refurbished building, much more suited to their needs. The new building enabled the project to significantly increase their membership, take on new staff and volunteers, and raise their profile.

The Centre had been reasonably stable with grant funding income over recent years, but things became more precarious. Some sources of income were for one year only with no guarantee they would continue. The move into the new building saw running costs increase and the group also expected cuts to their Council grant. They had to tap into reserves for the move and were not in a position to build them back up. It was therefore important to the organisation to make sure that they could find ways to generate income to enable them to survive beyond their Big Lottery Fund grant and well into the future.

The organisation were keen to explore new and different ways of generating income. They were also keen to capture some of the thinking of staff, volunteers and members.

Mary being helped to use a computer

With the help of a Business Advisor the organisation was supported to develop and consider options for income generation, including advice on letting out space within the building, guidance on full cost recovery, sponsorship, and the importance of raising their profile and reaching out to the corporate world. The Business Advisor also facilitated two short sessions with the board, staff and volunteers to brainstorm fundraising ideas.

Following this support, good progress was made on many of the ideas from the workshops. Having to consider alternative sources of raising income was relatively new for the Centre and required a lot of work and a change to their approach. However there was a great level of enthusiasm from those involved with lots of ideas to follow up on.

Melanie O’Donnell, the Manager of the Senior Centre, has recently said of the support – “Anne’s work with us was excellent and changes and improvements have made such a difference already in such a short period of time.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the business support on offer, please get in touch directly with your funding officer.

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