Business Plan 2017 20

User Manual: Business-Plan-2017-20

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Business Plan
2017 - 20


Executive Summary: Support for a grassroots city ............................................................................... 3
Chair’s Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 4
Section 1: Strategic Context
Stronger Communities – an evidence-based approach .......................................................... 5
Section 2: Developments 2017-20
Continuity and change ...................................................................................................... 10
Section 3: Outcomes
Making a difference in Brighton & Hove ............................................................................. 13
Resource Centre Theory of Change ........................................................................... centre page pullout
Section 4: Resource Centre Services
A really useful place for community groups ....................................................................... 15
Section 5: Publicity and Communications
Spreading the word ........................................................................................................... 19
Section 6: Monitoring and evaluation ................................................................................................ 20
Section 7: Financial and fundraising strategy .................................................................................... 22
Appendix 1: List of equipment available ............................................................................................. 25
Appendix 2: Usage of the Resource Centre, 2016-17 .......................................................................... 26

Cover photo: Steyning Downland Scheme Big Picnic, 2013
Page 2

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Executive Summary

Support for a grassroots city
With 800 user groups in Brighton and Hove each year, the Resource Centre is probably the most widely
used infrastructure support agency in the city. Founded by a coalition of community groups in 1976, we
are also one of the oldest. Our regular user surveys show extremely high levels (often above 90%) of
satisfaction with our services. Surveys also show that for around 70% of our users we are their sole
support agency: we are reaching parts of the city that no other organisation reaches. Finally, we raise
approximately 25% of our income through our own trading activities.
This business plan outlines how we aim to build on our achievements and meet the challenges we will
encounter in 2017-20. Throughout the plan we will be stressing four interrelated themes:

Small groups are the vital glue that holds communities together. These groups have particular needs
and the Centre is a specialist in meeting these needs.

While we specialise in supporting small groups, the help we are able to offer our user groups is
broad. Our services work together to support different aspects of a group’s work, and develop
alongside groups as they change. We know that a major aspect of our success comes from the fact
that our different services strengthen each other.

The support we provide is above all practical: it is designed to give groups the tools they can use to
overcome barriers to their activity.

Groups value our consistency and stability. Any changes in how we support groups will be minor and
gradual. We know we are already extremely successful at what we do, and don’t plan any major
changes in our work.

Section 1 of the plan gives an overview of the context in which we work, our organisation and priorities.
It shows how our democratic membership and management structure is central in maintaining our
distinctive focus on supporting small groups. These ideas are summarised in our Theory of Change,
which forms a four-page central pullout section.
Section 2 gives our ideas on how we see the Centre developing in 2017-20. We don’t anticipate any major
changes in the focus of our work. We will continue to concentrate on what we are good at – providing high
quality support to small groups in the city, and in particular our priority groups.
Section 3 spells out our expected outcomes in 2017-20. We will continue to monitor and evaluate our
delivery of a range of clear benefits for community groups in Brighton & Hove.
Section 4 describes our services in detail. We offer five main services: equipment for events, meetings
and fundraising; a community print room; information about fundraising and running groups; one-to-one
advice and support; and community accountancy support. In addition, we support tenants’ associations
to participate in the City Council’s Resident Involvement processes.
Section 5 outlines our publicity and communications strategy. While word of mouth remains our most
useful marketing tool, we will also continue to use social media, direct mailings and participation in
community events to ensure our services are widely known.
Section 6 explains our approach to monitoring and evaluation. We gather detailed usage statistics, have
established mechanisms for gathering qualitative feedback from groups, and make good use of the
expertise of our staff and Management Committee members.
Section 7 details our financial situation and fundraising strategy. In summary the new Third Sector
Investment Programme (TSIP) gives a broad level of security for the three year period. However one of the
funders, the Clinical Commissioning Group, has still not confirmed the level of their contribution to the
Programme. As usual we are also reliant on raising additional funding during the period. To deal with the
uncertainty this creates we have been forced to make what we hope are temporary reductions in wages
and services.

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Page 3


Chair’s Introduction
Welcome to the Resource Centre’s business plan for the next three years.
In 2016 the Resource Centre celebrated its 40th year of operation. Over the decades, the Centre has gone
through many changes. But the central, simple idea of a shared pool of resources for community groups
in the city has remained at the heart of the organisation’s work throughout that time.
When looking at voluntary sector strategy documents and listening to current buzzwords, like
collaboration, resilience, and the sharing economy, I am struck by how forward-thinking and visionary the
founders of the Resource Centre were, back in the 1970s.
Their common sense solution to the shared problems faced by diverse community groups led them to
create a really effective peer-to-peer network, long before Facebook was invented. Because the Resource
Centre is owned and managed by small community groups, the equipment and resources held at the
Centre are truly shared by thousands of people in the city – a resilient sharing economy that has been
developing for decades.
The Resource Centre offers a way for small groups to collaborate and learn from each other, without
compromising the independence and expertise which make them so effective. At its centre is an alliance
of many of the most marginalised groups in the city who have created a structure that not only services
their own needs but also provides a hub for hundreds of other small groups.
Like everyone on the management committee, it was my experience as a user that made me want to be
involved. It is from my experience as a user that I feel confident to say that the Resource Centre is a
really special place. It’s special because:

It is reliable. It is open when it says it will be, staff know what they are talking about and they deliver
what they say they will deliver.

It offers practical help to grassroots volunteers, as and when they need it. When you visit or ring up
the Centre, you can be sure you will come away with a specific piece of information, equipment or
advice that helps you move things on.

It is designed around the needs of really small groups so services are accessible to everyone, with no
jargon and no assumptions. That is why 83% of user groups are run by volunteers and over half
have fewer than 10 organisers.

It respects the contribution of community activists. When you are working with staff, you feel that
you are having a real conversation with them, and they treat you as the expert in your own area of

Without blowing my own trumpet – all of these things were true long before I was chair – I know that a
big part of the credit for this goes to the management structure. The Centre’s membership is drawn
entirely from groups in social housing, from BME groups and from groups of disabled people. The
member groups in turn elect the management committee.
This means that every trustee has direct experience of organising community activity in the areas the
Centre aims to support. When we discuss the Centre’s overall direction, budget and policies, we base our
decisions on that experience, and take care to keep everything focused on the needs of groups like ours.
I am proud to have played a part in the remarkable survival story of the Resource Centre, and I am sure
the Centre will continue to thrive for many years to come.

Page 4

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 1: Strategic Context

Stronger Communities – an
evidence-based approach
Community activity – our experience
For over 40 years, the Resource Centre has
believed in the activity of ordinary people. We
were founded on two central ideas:

that people getting together to do things they
themselves have decided to do is valuable for
the people themselves, for their communities
and for the city;

that the activity of these
groups would be enhanced
if they could find a way to
pool the equipment and
information they all needed
occasionally but could not
afford individually.

Since then we have worked with
literally thousands of groups
and tens of thousands of people
and are more convinced than
ever that:

In terms of structure, small groups are
characteristically very open and informal. The
management of the group and its activities are
generally carried out by the same people. The
existence of the group is entirely dependent on
the voluntary commitment of these core people.

We focus on practical
support for small
community groups – the
kind that are run by
volunteers on a
shoestring, like
residents’ associations,
school PTAs, sports
clubs and selfself-help

stronger communities make
a real difference to the
people who live in them: people in these
communities are healthier, experience less
crime, have a more welcoming physical
environment, have more opportunities to
express themselves and are more
economically active. In short they have the
chance to live fuller lives.

a city of active communities is a more
exciting, vibrant, equal and happy place.

strong communities are best built by the
activity of the members of the community.
They know best what is required and what
will work. They bring a passion and
commitment that cannot be matched by top
down services provided by the statutory or
private sectors.

As our work developed we realised that the
difference between small community groups and
other voluntary organisations is not just one of
scale. There are fundamental differences both in
structure – particularly who does the work – and
in the activity carried out.
Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

In terms of activity, the benefit
delivered to the community by
the existence of small groups
isn’t simply the provision of a
service. There is often no
division between the producers
and the consumers of the
group’s activity. Being involved
in a group can be of immense
benefit to individuals, and their
activity in turn benefits the
wider community.

The fact that members
themselves set the priorities of
these groups, make the
practical decisions about how
activities will be carried out, and then actually
carry out the activities gives them a unique
importance in community building. For the
individual, they can provide a place to develop
skills and confidence and simply to engage with
other people. For the community, small groups
can shift focus and respond quickly to changing

These differences mean that a stronger
community is not something that can be delivered
from the outside but something that must be
built from within. No outside agency can replace
the work of local people but the right agency can
provide the tools which make it easier for them to
do their job.
That’s why we have a particular focus on
providing practical support for small community
groups – the kind that are run by volunteers on a
shoestring, like residents’ associations, school
PTAs, sports clubs and self-help groups.

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Section 1: Strategic Context
Community activity – what the research says
We have been convinced for 40 years of the value
of small groups, and have prioritised our work in
Brighton and Hove accordingly. During this
period, and increasingly in the last ten years,
there has been a growing body of research to
validate this belief. Small groups, often operating
‘below the radar’ of the formal voluntary sector
and state structures, have been described as
forming the ‘social glue’ of their communities.1
As argued above, the specific
characteristics of small groups
mean they play a role that
cannot be replaced by larger or
more remote organisations. This
was summarised clearly in the
Community Development
Foundation’s 2014 report,
‘Tailor-made: How community
groups improve people’s lives’:

“The richrich-poor gap
cannot be explained
away ... it seems, some
wider ecological effect
took hold – almost as if
whole neighbourhoods
had forgotten how to

“The community sector is
distinct because of a
combination of traits common to
community groups. They can flex to the
needs of the community, provide a holistic
service that meets the multiple-needs of
people, build trusting relationships,
connect to ‘hidden’ groups, harness firsthand experience leading to valuable
expertise, provide low-cost services and
attract people that are highly committed to
their cause.
The community sector makes a valuable
contribution to people’s lives and society
by building safer communities, improving
the physical environment, enhancing
health and wellbeing and supporting local

Recent research shows small groups are now
more vital than ever. There is considerable
evidence that the 2008 recession was followed by
a significant drop in volunteering and in social
cohesion. There are also clear indications that
this hit most strongly in communities which were
already worse off economically and where people
were already struggling to get involved.

Understanding the distinctiveness of small scale, third
sector activity: the role of local knowledge and networks in
shaping below the radar actions, Third Sector Research
Centre, May 2010,


Page 6

Drawing on a large survey database a recent
study points out that: “the decline [in
volunteering] is more salient in … socially and
economically disadvantaged communities” and
that “the decline has more to do with communitylevel factors such as civic organizational
infrastructure and cultural norms of trust and
engagement than personal experiences of
economic hardship.”3
Tom Clark, in his 2014 book
Hard Times, recorded that the
reduction in involvement in
poorer communities was six
times greater than that in richer
areas. Significantly he notes:

“The rich-poor gap cannot be
explained away by
adjusting the data for the
number of unemployed
individuals. Rather, it
seems, some wider
ecological effect took hold – almost as if
whole neighbourhoods had forgotten how
to hope.”

Worryingly he concludes that:
“the troubling answer from the very latest
analysis … is that whereas the social
wounds for the many may indeed already
be well on the way to healing, for the
minority of towns and the streets that got
lashed most severely, instead of healing
the wounds may resolve into lasting
social scars.”4
At the same time continuing budget restraint
means less cash is available for delivering
services to people. This gives a particular
importance to the efforts of people themselves to
build resilient communities.
Taken together these mean that additional
support needs to be targeted at communities
which have suffered most severely from the
recession, and at building the self-activity of
these communities.

‘Doing good when times are bad: volunteering behaviour in
economic hard times’, The British Journal of Sociology,
Volume 66, Issue 2, pages 319–344, June 2015


Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 1: Strategic Context
For decades the Resource Centre has given
particular priority to the needs of small, volunteer
-run groups rooted in communities with the least
access to resources – areas of social housing,
minority ethnic communities, and the disabled
community. (We refer to these groups as priority

With our long-standing commitment to this work,
our close links with activists in disadvantaged
communities and our decades of experience of
working in them, the Resource Centre is well
placed to deliver the targeted support needed by
small groups in Brighton & Hove.

Barriers and bridges
We’ve argued above that small groups are the
glue in active communities and that the Resource
Centre is a specialist in supporting these groups.
We’ve also said that the support we offer is above
all practical, but what does this mean day to day?
What are the problems we help groups overcome?
Our starting point here is that
all groups, despite the energy
and commitment of their
members, face barriers in
organising. These barriers differ
from group to group, and for
each group at different stages in
their development, but all
groups are stronger for some
outside help when they need it.

represents a significant contribution to activity in
the city and a massive saving to groups who were
able to use the equipment they needed without
purchasing it themselves.
Although access to equipment is important,
simple access is only one dimension of the benefit
to groups. Because the
equipment is provided in one
place, and used by hundreds of
groups, the Resource Centre
becomes a hub where groups
can meet each other and build
links and where staff can pass
on the experience of one group
to others in a similar position.

There is a constant flow
of information between
groups of all kinds,
sometimes mediated
through our staff and
sometimes sparked by a
chance encounter in
the print room.

What groups need varies widely.
For one group it may be a candy
floss machine they can hire for
their fete once a year whereas for another it may
be an intensive series of sessions to help draw up
a fundraising application. For one it may be a
regular place to print their newsletter while for
another it may be some information on how to
arrange a street closure for an event.
The common thread is that for any group in the
city, the Resource Centre is a place where they
can get practical help to solve their immediate
problems. This practical approach has a farreaching impact on groups and communities
across the city.

To see in more detail how this works, let’s start
with the most simple and practical problem and
one that we face a dozen or more times every day:
‘our group wants to do X but can’t afford the
piece of equipment we need to do it’. The
Resource Centre keeps and maintains 107
different types of equipment for groups to use
either in the Centre or at their events (see
Appendix 1 for details). In 2016-17 this
equipment was used a total of 4,959 times. This

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Each item of equipment is
supplied with clear verbal and
written instructions and tips,
developed and refined by staff
on the basis of groups’ experiences with the
equipment. Conversations at the front desk also
enable staff to pick up details of other useful
suppliers of equipment, which are then shared
with all groups via our website.
Another significant benefit of having a central
hub for small group activity is that it expands
groups’ horizons. Looking at what the Resource
Centre has available, and what other groups are
doing, increases a group’s sense of what is
possible: a group that comes in to print a
newsletter can see the range of fair equipment
and be inspired while groups picking up their
equipment can browse our funding noticeboards
and information sheets while they are in the
All of our user groups benefit from this central
pool of equipment, and from the information we

Page 7

Section 1: Strategic Context
We also know that for people organising groups in
communities which are already coping with the
effects of exclusion and marginalisation, there are
additional barriers to organising.
People in these communities may be
geographically more isolated, for example, or have
no spare money to pay for room bookings or
equipment up front. They may be unable to make
firm commitments to volunteer, due to
unpredictable work patterns. They may not have
English as a first language, or may be less
confident about reading and writing, placing them
at a disadvantage when raising funds and
publicising their groups. More generally they may
feel more remote from centres of power and less
entitled to access facilities or take part in
discussions about their area.
Because of our practical focus, we have developed
services which approach these obstacles head-on.
We offer short-term credit to our priority groups,
allowing them to raise the money at their events
before they have to pay for the equipment hire.
We offer advice sessions at our front desk, as well
as through appointments made in advance, to
suit the different life circumstances of
individuals. We visit people in the evenings and at
home if they can’t make it to the Centre when we

are open. We work one-to-one to help people
understand official communications and to draft
letters and funding applications. We help
treasurers sort out their group’s finances and
gain confidence in their own abilities. We build
long-term relationships of trust, enabling people
to develop skills at their own pace.
The process of working intensively with priority
groups is a rich learning experience for our staff,
which in turn benefits groups across the city, as
we share knowledge and tips through our
information resources and in conversations with
other groups at the front desk. Because our
intensive support services are situated within a
busy open-access centre, there is a constant flow
of information between groups of all kinds,
sometimes mediated through our staff and
sometimes sparked by a chance encounter in the
print room.
All of this works to build bridges: bridges between
different groups, between less and more
experienced activists and between groups and
funders or official bodies. Ultimately these bridges
contribute to maintaining a network of small
groups throughout the city and this network
helps all groups overcome the barriers they

Our key strengths
The practical and integrated nature of what we
provide is central to the success of the Centre. It
stems from two key strengths:

We are steady and consistent, with a very
experienced staff team

We are owned and led by community groups
based in disadvantaged

These two facts make us unique
in the city and possibly the

We are also in a position to
have a long-term view of
changes in the city, and within
the groups we work with. We
have found that it takes time to
develop trust and
understanding, but that this is
a crucial aspect of supporting
people to learn new skills and develop confidence.

Our priorities are set by
ordinary volunteers in
Brighton & Hove

Looking firstly at our
consistency, all the work of
delivering services and running the Centre is
shared by our staff team of seven. The team is
extraordinarily stable, with a very low staff
turnover. The most long-standing member of the
team has worked at the Centre for over 30 years,
while even the newest staff member has been
with us for five years.

Page 8

This stability means that as an organisation, we
are able to maintain a long-term relationship with
groups and individual activists. A group can get
back in touch after a gap of five years and find
that someone at the Centre remembers their

We operate a flat structure, with collective line
management. We allocate responsibilities and
tasks within the team, aiming to achieve a
balance between the benefits of flexible staff who
can take on a range of roles within the
organisation, and the need for stability and
experience in some areas of work.
Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 1: Strategic Context
A key advantage of this way of working is that our
services are highly integrated, so groups can
usually receive all the support they need from any
member of staff. In terms of administration and
management, our flexible structure means that
periods of staff leave or illness cause minimal
disruption to the functioning of the Centre.
Working collectively in this way also means that
we are dealing day-to-day with the same issues as
other small groups. It gives our staff a direct and
current insight into the problems – and the joys –
of group working.
Secondly, our democratic relationship with our
priority groups is a key feature of the Centre. (As
mentioned above these are groups in areas of

social housing, minority ethnic communities, and
the disabled community). Our membership is
entirely composed of these groups. They elect our
management committee, who serve as trustees of
the charity and directors of the limited company.
Their experience and knowledge is immensely
valuable in setting the overall direction and
priorities of the Centre.
This inside knowledge of the practical needs of
community group organisers in disadvantaged
communities gives the Centre a clear focus at all
levels. Our priorities are set, not by city-wide
strategies or government policies, but by ordinary
volunteers in Brighton & Hove communities.

Our Theory of Change
Our Theory of Change pulls together the thinking outlined in this section into a diagram and brief
accompanying narrative. In the centre of this plan is a four-page Theory of Change pullout section.

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Page 9

Section 2: Developments 2017-20

Continuity and change
We don’t anticipate any major changes in the focus of our work in the period 2017-20. This is a matter of
policy. We believe we have a clear set of aims – to provide high quality support to small groups in the city,
and in particular our priority groups – and that the very high use of the Centre and extremely positive
feedback from users shows we are achieving these aims. We don’t believe in taking on additional projects
in order to chase funds and will continue to concentrate on what we are good at.

A steady focus – meeting the needs of small groups
A large majority of the groups that use the Centre
have no paid staff and receive no external
funding. As noted above, these community groups
work differently from larger and more formal
voluntary organisations and
have specific support needs.
We intend, therefore, to
continue offering a flexible and
responsive range of services,
designed around the needs of
small grassroots organisations.
Based on our experience of
working with small groups over
many years, we aim to offer:

Straightforward information, written in plain
English. We keep voluntary sector jargon out
of our publications, so that they can be used
by everyone.

We will continue to
offer a flexible and
responsive range of
services, designed
around the needs of
small grassroots

Immediate and practical
solutions to groups’ problems. Busy
volunteers have easy access to our
knowledgeable staff whenever we’re open and
we respond to all emails within one working

Access to a range of useful equipment for
small groups, at an affordable price.

Advice and support which is
free at the point of delivery.
Small groups don’t have a
work plan or business plan
for years in advance and
can’t plan to raise funds to
buy in consultancy support
in the future.

A willingness to challenge
groups in a supportive
manner. We know that the
problem a group first comes
in with is not always the central difficulty
they face. We have the experience, and the
confidence, to work with them to get to the
heart of the matter.

Incremental change and organic development
We’ve already stressed that clarity and
consistency are key strengths: groups know what
it is that we provide and they know we will be
here to provide it day-in, day-out and year after
But consistency, of course, is not the same as
standing still. The world changes, our users’
needs change, and so correspondingly does what
we provide. In all cases though, changes to the
Centre will be small updates and improvements
to the existing successful provision.

Page 10

Over the next three years we expect three
developments in particular to our services: we will
slightly expand the areas in which we give groups
advice, we will update some of our equipment and
we will place an additional emphasis on our
online information and on helping groups
organise through online social networks.
We will also be working more closely with our
partner organisations across the city, to ensure
that groups receive the type of support that best
suits their needs.

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 2: Developments 2017-20
Learning alongside our member
Turning firstly to the advice service, there are two
complementary factors at play. On one hand the
problems confronting groups are becoming more
complex, especially as the community sector
becomes increasingly regulated. On the other our
expertise is growing as we adapt to helping
groups with these problems.
For example, we have begun to receive requests
from groups about whether a charitable
incorporated organisation (CIO) might be a
suitable structure for them. In response we have
developed our own understanding of these and
learned alongside member groups who have gone
down this route.
Expanding our area of expertise
in this way is a natural result of
our work being responsive to
the developing needs of groups,
and we expect it to continue
during the next three years.

Adapting to changing
communication needs

The way groups use printed material is changing,
nevertheless. Over the last few years we have
seen a decline in the demand for high-volume
black & white printing, while colour printing has
become more the norm. As groups save money by
switching from printed newsletters to electronic
communication, they are shifting their focus to
eye-catching posters, stickers and flyers to attract
new members and signpost people to their online
information. And the need for clear signage and
display material for events remains as strong as
We have responded by purchasing a new inkjet
printer to provide colour printing at an affordable
price, adding stickers to our range of printing
options, and offering a laminating service for
paper banners. We will continue to reassess the
shape of our community print room service in
order to keep pace with
technology as it changes.

Social networking
technologies are
changing the way
groups organise.
However, many of the
underlying issues
remain constant – how
to communicate well,
include people and
make clear decisions

The second area of development
will be in the updating of our
hire and print equipment. As
technology changes we need to
change what is available at the
Centre so that groups have access to up-to-date
and high quality equipment. We also try and
respond to requests from groups for equipment,
or good ideas from our users, such as a fair stall
that someone has seen that we believe can help
groups make money.

Technological change has an impact in particular
on the print room as social media becomes
increasingly important in society as a whole, and
as groups’ expectations change.
The increase of social media has led to a
flattening of demand for print. Even so the service
remains popular and over 400 groups used the
print room in 2016-17. This reflects the fact that
for some groups print is still the main means for
contacting their members, and almost all groups
use it for parts of their work.

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

With this kind of equipment
updating the constraint is
always money. The Centre
needs to raise the funds to buy
the new equipment. We have
been very successful at this
over the years but it is a
constant struggle. Given the
current economic situation we
anticipate it continuing to be
difficult but during 2017-20 we
will continue to try and raise
money and update our
equipment when possible.

Sharing knowledge better
Thirdly we expect some increase in the
interrelated areas of our information service, our
own use of social media and our support to
groups in using this.
Looking firstly at the information service we
anticipate the increase will be steady rather than
dramatic as the service is already very heavily
The main focus of our online presence remains
our extensive website, which has seen a large
increase in usage since its redesign in 2015. The
information we hold there is a valuable reference
source, not only for our staff but also for workers
in other support agencies across the city.

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Section 2: Developments 2017-20
To be useful, information needs to be up to date.
Here the main constraint is time, as updating
information is famously time intensive. Some of
the time goes into checking details – has an
address changed? are a funder’s criteria the same
this year as last? – and some into keeping up with
developments in best practice.
The heavy use of our information, especially via
the website, convinces us that this investment of
time is useful for groups and we will, therefore, be
continuing to set aside time in our work plan for
2017-20 to keep our information service up to
date. This is an area in which our collaboration
with other support organisations has been
particularly productive over recent years. We
encourage feedback from partners as well as user
groups, and aim to improve the quality of our
information whenever possible.
As people’s usage of the internet shifts away from
browsing and searching and towards a more
dynamic and personalised experience based on
social networks, we are increasingly using
Facebook and Twitter to share information
content with groups and to make them aware of
what the service has to offer.

Page 12

Social networking and messaging tools, and other
online technologies are changing the way groups
organise. However, regardless of the platform
used, many of the underlying issues remain
constant – how to communicate well, include
people and make clear decisions. We are updating
and developing our information and advice
services to help groups address these familiar
issues in new contexts.

Closer collaboration
Finally, 2017-20 will see a new phase in our
partnership work with other local support
agencies, following our successful joint bid to the
new Third Sector Investment Programme, funded
by Brighton & Hove City Council and the
Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group.
Nine voluntary sector organisations have come
together to create a cohesive and flexible support
network for groups and organisations across the
city, drawing on the strengths of each partner.
While groups will continue to receive a range of
support services from organisations with wide
expertise and a respected track record in the city,
the partnership will enable us to share learning,
maximise support, minimise duplication and
maintain a strategic overview of services.

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 3: Outcomes

Making a difference in Brighton
& Hove

Visits to centre by B&H based groups1

All groups in the city will be able to
access good, reasonably priced,
efficiently organised equipment
when they need it.

All groups in the city will be able to
consult relevant, up-to-date and
clear information addressing their

In each

No. of user groups based in B&H1


Percentage of groups very satisfied with service overall2


Percentage of groups very satisfied with print room2


Percentage of groups very satisfied with equipment hire


Visitors to website or Centre viewing information resources per


Percentage of groups rating information service as very useful2


All groups in the city will be able to
get ‘advice on demand’ about
problems they face.

Advice on demand sessions1


Small groups will have access to
information resources designed for
groups at their level of organisation.

Percentage of groups run mainly by volunteers2


Small groups will have access to an
equipment service specifically
designed to meet the needs of small

Percentage of groups with fewer than 10 core organisers2


Priority groups’ financial systems
will be independently examined
allowing them to improve their
financial practices and demonstrate
proper stewardship.

Priority groups will receive
one-to-one advice and training to
meet problems they encounter when

Priority groups will have publicity
materials produced for them.

Examinations of accounts1


Percentage of accounts examination feedback cards with
‘excellent’ rating3


Scheduled support sessions1


User evaluation indicates increased skills and confidence
following support sessions4


Percentage of support work feedback forms with ‘excellent’


Proportion of supported funding applications that are at least
partially successful4


Design and print jobs1


Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Page 13

Section 3: Outcomes
All figures overleaf are for each year in the period 2017- 20 and are for Brighton & Hove only. While the
Centre has a small percentage of equipment uses from outside the city, and a considerable number of
web uses from all over the world, these are incidental to the focus of our work. We do not therefore track
them in our outcomes.
Sources of information referred to in the table are:

Resource Centre usage statistics


Biennial user survey


Immediate evaluation by groups


Qualitative follow-up evaluation

Page 14

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Our Theory of Change: Stronger communities –
an evidence-based approach
What is the change we want to

What is the evidence that our work

see, and why?

is e ective?

We want to see strong, sustainable, inclusive

The heavy use of our services is the first and clearest

community life in Brighton and Hove. We want to see

indicator that groups find our help effective: around

this because evidence shows that strong

900 groups use us more than 3,000 times in the

communities make the people who live in them

average year.

happier and healthier.

This is underlined by user feedback: in our most

See On the importance of strong communities, page 4

recent survey (July 2016) 86% of users said we were

What is necessary for this change

need and more than half (56%) reported we were the

to happen?

groups rated our services as excellent.

We believe a necessary component of a strong

the only place they could get the equipment they
only support organisation they used. Almost all

community is a vibrant ecosystem of small self-

What are the factors that make us

directed community groups. This belief contains an

e ective?

assumption – that bottom up change is more
effective than top down developments – that is now
so clearly true that it hardly needs evidencing.
See On the importance of small groups, page 4

There are three key factors underpinning our


with user groups. This is particularly strong with
marginalised groups in the city who make up our

How does our work support this

membership and elect our management


committee. This keeps us tightly focused on the
needs of small groups.

All of our work is focused on making small groups
more able to do what their members want. We


them. This means we are constantly monitoring

strengthen them by providing equipment that they

our effectiveness and building on what works.

tell us they need and information that has proved
centred on helping groups overcome problems as

We are a listening organisation with a culture of
learning from user groups while supporting

work directly and practically with these groups to

valuable to them over time. Our advice work is

We have a close and long-lasting relationship


We have an experienced, stable and committed
staff team with the range of skills groups need.

they encounter them. We o er a collective solution

Taken together these mean we have the focus and

to problems which groups encounter individually.

ability to learn what small groups need to be effective

In particular we work with groups which have less

and the skills and confidence to provide it in a form

access to support: those in areas of social housing or

that is useful to them.

composed of BME or disabled activists. These groups
in particular benefit from our practical face-to-face
See On a practical and face-to-face approach, page 4

Resource Centre Theory of Change
November 2016

This is our ultimate aim




Knowledge Strategic



Strong, active community life in Brighton
& Hove, especially in marginalised
neighbourhoods and communities of

This is part of what we
believe is needed to
achieve it

"small civil society
organisations are often
the bedrock of civil society,
enabling social action,
mutuality, advocacy and
generally supporting the
social fabric of

Small self-directed groups are a central component
of strong communities

This is the intended
result of our activity

Some of what we have
learned about the
things groups need to
achieve the strategic

Indicators that our
work effectively
contributes to the
desired outcome

This is the immediate
effect of our activity

What we do

Well-run community groups are empowering
for those involved in them, as well as being
key providers of vital services

"Many individuals who get involved in
community activity find themselves
more knowledgeable about local
decision-making processes and
become more confident to get
involved." (3)

Self-organised groups of marginalised individuals are
particularly important in building an equal

Listening to groups and answering
their questions is built in to our
decision-making processes.

More effective and inclusive community
groups, with more confident and
experienced activists and with access to the
tools and information they need
"the community sector is
uniquely positioned to
notice the issues and
concerns in communities
without direction from ‘the
centre’. They have the
flexibility, relationships,
reach and trust to be able
to respond and help ease
the pressures on people in
communities and make
lives better." (2)

The help needed by small groups is practical not

83% of our user
groups are run
mainly by
volunteers (5)

Support to small groups is best delivered by a
specialist provider with experience of their

Over decades, we have built up our
services through responding to the
expressed needs of groups.

Marginalised groups need more intensive support
and this is best delivered face to face

100% of our 2016 survey respondents agree that the
Resource Centre makes life easier for their group. (5)

97% of our support session feedback forms in
2015-16 rated our work as excellent (6)

"the integrated package of support offered by the
Resource Centre to its priority groups is part of an
ongoing relationship of trust and respect; the
package of support enables groups to understand
the full range of responsibilities, including financial,
safeguarding, health and safety and accountability
that they are required to have." (7)

Activists in groups have access to a range of
equipment to enable them to carry out their

Activists in groups have access to up to
date information designed to meet the
needs of small groups

Activists in marginalised groups have access to
effective training and support around problems
they face

A range of equipment for groups to hire at low cost,
for use at their own events

Clear, straightforward information on all
aspects of running a small community group

One-to-one, flexible advice and support for activists
in marginalised neighbourhoods and communities
of interest

A community print room, where groups can produce
newsletters and publicity materials cheaply, with
support and help from experienced staff

Information on useful sources of funding and
other services for small groups

Free examination of accounts service for groups
based in marginalised communities

Around 900 groups use
our services every year

For most of our user groups, we are the only
support agency they use (5)

1., p23

A culture of learning


This is an iterative process. We offer
practical services because they are the
ones groups have asked for. Providing
useful services gives us the
opportunity to listen to groups and
learn about how they improve
wellbeing in their communities.
Our management structure mirrors
the egalitarian nature of many small
groups and ensures that our staff are
skilled at sharing responsibility and
communicating clearly.
The lessons of our experience of
listening to and working with small
groups are confirmed by the findings
of recent academic research in this

Context and research evidence
We work in a lively and diverse city. We also work in a divided city. While the surface image of Brighton and Hove
is of an affluent and bustling place, beneath this surface there are many communities – both of place and interest
– with members who face multiple problems.
This is reflected in the 2010 Index of Deprivation, where Brighton and Hove ranks 66th out of 326 authorities and
12% of the cityʼs areas were within the 10% most deprived in England.

On the importance of strong

On a practical and face to face



ʻThe positive effects of people belonging to social

ʻWhere support is needed, the greatest need for

networks can include: low crime rates, less grime,

smaller voluntary organisations and groups is face-to-

better educational achievement, and better health. A

face support, often one-to-one and often out of hours

number of these affect whole communities, not just

– in particular to suit volunteers. Many BME

those involved in the networks or groups – everyone

organisations find it particularly difficult to

benefits from less graffiti and safer places for children

communicate their needs and get useful information,

to play.ʼ

especially (but not solely) where no member speaks/

The Local Wellbeing Project, 2008:

reads/writes fluent English. Again, local and face-to-

Neighbourliness + Empowerment = Wellbeing, p40

face support is most helpful here. This came through


strongly in both the primary and secondary research.ʼ

On the importance of small groups

NACVA, 2016:
Commission on the Future of Local Infrastructure, p25

ʻInterviewees identified three levels of impact for


below the radar groups and activities:

ʻSeeing and doing for most groups was a physical

Individual: overcoming social isolation and

activity whereby they visited a person or a group who

promoting the health and mental well-being of

could teach them what they needed to know.


interesting to note that in developing and using those

Group/community: delivering small scale services at

networks the focus tended to be upon the person

the local level, sustaining cultural identities, breaking

helping them, rather than their employing

down barriers to social cohesion and acting as


advocates for marginalised communities.

Third Sector Research Centre, 2012:

Societal: individually the impact of below the radar
groups was seen as limited. However, at a wider
societal level, that impact was seen as cumulative.

It is

Seeing and doing: learning, resources and social networks
below the radar, p11-12


Community based activity was therefore vital to a

More about the Resource Centre

vibrant democracy, ensuring that (where possible)

We provide five key services:

policy and services responded to ʻactual community
needsʼ and were reported as ʻthe bedrockʼ of an
active, healthy and diverse civil society.ʼ
Third Sector Research Centre, 2010:
Understanding the distinctiveness of small scale, third
sector activity: the role of local knowledge and networks in
shaping below the radar actions, page 3



Community print room
Equipment hire
Information on funding and running groups
Advice and support for our member groups
Accounts examinations and help with
managing money for member groups

See for full details

Brighton and Hove Social Welfare and Educational Trust is a Limited Company registered in England under no. 1730256.
Registered Charity no. 287516Registered for VAT under no. 861 1001 75

Published November 2016

Section 4: Resource Centre Services

A really useful place for
community groups
The Resource Centre’s services have been tried and tested over a number of years and we anticipate that
we will continue to offer the same range during 2017-20.
We offer five main services:

Equipment for events, meetings and fundraising

A community print room


Advice and support

Community accounting

We have a particularly close relationship with tenants’ associations and receive funding from Housing
Services to directly support these.
Each of these areas is described in detail below. We also spell out why an integrated service is so
important to our users and give some thoughts on changes which are likely in the next period.

Equipment for events, meetings and fundraising
All groups need access to equipment from time to
time. From the start, the Resource Centre has
aimed to provide a central pool of resources, so
that groups could effectively share equipment.

projectors, candy floss machines to disco lights,
and bouncy castles to exhibition boards. Much of
our equipment is not available commercially and,
where it is, we offer much cheaper prices.

This distinctive service means
that community and voluntary
groups across Sussex:

More importantly we bring an
integrated community
perspective to the service. Our
staff are aware of the particular
needs of community groups,
and therefore take care to offer
additional information groups
may need, pass on tips from one group to
another, and make sure our equipment is easy to
use for a wide range of groups.

The service is a
remarkable example of
community spirit in

have access to the latest
technology for meetings,
presentations, video and
photography projects

can share a well-maintained stock of games
for fêtes and fairs, and play equipment for
after-school clubs and playschemes

have no need to raise or commit their own
funds for equipment purchasing

do not need to find safe storage for equipment
between events

We have over 160 separate items of equipment
available for groups to hire, ranging from badge
machines to video cameras, collecting tins to data

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

We have developed efficient systems for ensuring
that the equipment remains in good working
order, and that we quickly repair or replace parts
or items that get lost or damaged.
Overwhelmingly, community groups who hire our
equipment treat it with care and respect, and
return it on time, so that it will be available for
other groups. The service is a remarkable
example of community spirit in action.

Page 15

Section 4: Resource Centre Services
Community print room: enabling groups to
Despite the expansion in digital communication,
printed material remains a vital means of
communication for community groups of all
kinds. Groups create flyers,
posters, newsletters and
booklets at the Centre – we have
equipment to help with every
stage of production.

and inkjet printers and digital duplicators are
available for any community or voluntary group to
use. Our staff provide on-the-spot training and
support and can help and
advise with design and
technical issues.

In 20162016-17, the print
room was used by over
400 different local

We have been providing groups
with the means to publish their
own news, information, and ideas for over 30
years. As technology changes, we aim to keep up
with groups’ demand for high quality print
resources at an affordable cost. Our colour laser

In 2016-17, the print room was
used by over 400 different local
groups, spanning the whole
range of community activity in
the city – from neighbourhood newsletters to
cultural celebrations, from poetry performances to
patient participation, our print room makes all
kinds of communication easier.

Our website was completely redesigned in 2015,
making it easier for groups to find our
information resources, which remain free for
anyone to access. They are used by community
and voluntary groups around the country (and
even the world) as well as by groups in Brighton
& Hove.

details for hundreds of suppliers who offer
services as diverse as minibus hire, catering
equipment, community event insurance, or
book-keeping help.

Our information resources have developed in
conjunction with our other services, and therefore
remain connected to the
practical and immediate
problems faced by groups.
Groups can use our information
service to answer questions as
they arise, for example:

I am my group’s treasurer.
How can I best keep our
We have two accounts
systems designed in Excel,
which groups can download
for free and personalise to
help them keep their
accounts in good order. The
accounts systems include
instructions and we also
publish step-by-step
guidance on keeping
community group accounts
and maintaining clear and transparent
financial systems.

When groups ask
questions we cannot
answer, we research
the information and
then make the
knowledge public so
that other groups can
also benefit.

How can our group raise
We publish a range of
information sheets on
raising money, whether this
is by organising fundraising
events, contacting local
businesses for support, or applying for
grants. We also provide standardised
information on the funders who are most
likely to support small local groups in Sussex
in our Favourite Funders collection.
Where can we get the equipment we need
for our event?
For equipment and services we cannot
provide ourselves, our website gives contact

Page 16

I’ve been elected as an officer of my group.
What does the job involve?
We publish a series of information sheets on
the roles of committee members, to help
people run small groups effectively.

Should we become a registered charity?
We have information sheets covering the
whole area of charity registration, legal
structures and constitutions, including
information about which groups are required
to register and the obligations of registered
Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 4: Resource Centre Services

How can we get our message across?
We produce information on publicity,
including up-to-date contacts for the local
media, tips on writing a press release, and
advice on setting out a campaign briefing or

We are always developing new information
resources, and checking that the existing ones
are up to date. When groups come to us with

questions we cannot answer, we research the
information and then make the knowledge public
so that other groups can also benefit.
At the Resource Centre, our noticeboards contain
the latest news about funding deadlines and
events for local groups, and we keep a small
reference library of books and directories relevant
to our user groups.

Advice and support
Working on a one-to-one or small group basis, we
are able to provide extremely flexible and
responsive advice, training and support services

groups based in areas of
social housing, and run by
local residents

disabled people’s
community groups

black and minority ethnic
(BME) community groups

For groups who are just starting up, we can
help with choosing the most appropriate legal
structure, help to draft a constitution and
essential policies, and support the Secretary,
Chair and committee
members to gain confidence
in their roles.

Our focus is on
providing practical help
with immediate
problems, and on
working with groups to
help them pursue their
own aims.

As with our other services, our
focus is on providing practical
help with immediate problems,
and on working with groups to help them pursue
their own aims.

For groups who need to raise funds, we can
help with drawing up budgets, identifying
sources of funding, planning fundraising
events, drafting grant applications and
preparing reports to funders.

For groups who produce a
community newsletter, we
have expertise in design and
printing, and can offer
training or direct help with
all stages of newsletter

Over the years we have built up significant
expertise in helping groups overcome the barriers
they face when organising in difficult situations.
But it is, of course, the energy and skills of the
activists themselves which are the central factor
in making these groups so successful.

Community accounting
Almost all groups raise and spend money. With
small groups the sums can often be quite small –
subscriptions from members spent on
refreshments for meetings, say. But they can also
be surprisingly large – fees collected from parents
to pay teachers or playworkers for weekly
children’s activities, for example.
Handling money, and correctly recording things,
is an area that many small groups struggle with.
There are several problems:

It feels like a technical skill and people can be
nervous about the correct procedures

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

It easily becomes privatised, with people
feeling that the treasurer has the right to
decide what is spent.

Groups which raise money externally can
also need to track budget headings, ensure
money is spent in the right areas, and report
back to funders.

any confusion can soon lead to disputes and

All of these can be magnified where people are
not confident with figures or where English is not
the first language.

Page 17

Section 4: Resource Centre Services
We therefore give particular attention in our
support work to helping our priority groups
manage their finances. In particular we help

set up accounts systems which are
appropriate for their size and needs;

improve their skills and knowledge of correct
book-keeping, accounting and reporting

communicate effectively between themselves
and make collective decisions about their

We also carry out independent examinations of
accounts for priority groups. Where groups need
to report to external bodies, an independent
examination checks that funds have been spent
correctly, and raises the quality of the reporting.
For example, the Charity Commission, looking at
small groups’ accounts, concluded that ‘the
accounts of those charities that had opted for an
independent examination were of much higher
quality than the others’.
More importantly, from our point of view, it gives
us the opportunity to check with the group that
everything is going well and to correct any
problems that have arisen.

Support to tenants
Our work with groups in areas of social housing
stretches back more than 30 years. As a result we
have strong links with activists in these areas
and tenants’ associations are
heavy users of our advice and
support service. (We gratefully
acknowledge funding from
Housing Services that allows us
to carry out this work.)

increasing the skills and confidence of
committee members so they are able to run
their association more effectively;

Tenants very much
value the support of an
independent and
neutral agency.

Much of the advice and support
work we do with TAs is aimed, as with any group,
at helping them strengthen their organisation.
Given the representational role TAs have in their
areas our work is particularly focused on:

Page 18

encouraging good practice
in the work of associations
and especially helping
activists reach out to their
membership to strengthen
the association and
maintain democratic

Given our particularly strong relationship with
many tenants groups we also often act as a
sounding board for activists in these groups,
helping them talk through issues or clarify their

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 5: Publicity and Communications

Spreading the word
Because we are so heavily used, the Centre’s services are already very well known throughout the city.
Our research shows that most new users come to us through word of mouth: they see a piece of our
equipment at an event or are told about us by another activist in their community.
Having said that, we are aware of the need to reach out to the community as a whole. To do so we use
four main channels of publicity.

Our main brochure is available in the offices of all the other infrastructure support agencies. We regularly
give brochures to local councillors and MPs, community development workers, and users of the Centre,
who pass the information on to other groups they are involved with.
Groups are frequently referred to us by Brighton & Hove City Council’s Communities and Equalities
Team, Sussex Community Foundation and other local funders.
We invite all newly elected officers of Brighton & Hove tenants’ associations to visit the Centre and
discuss the additional services we are able to offer them under our contract with Housing Services.

Community and voluntary sector events
We ensure that Resource Centre publicity is available at regular events organised by Community Works,
the City Council, and other organisations in the city.

Online networks
We have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, which we use to share news about the Centre and about
events and funding opportunities particularly relevant to small groups in Sussex. We use Facebook to
make initial contact with emerging groups in our priority areas and let them know about our services.
We are members of the Community Works email discussion list and the SCIP discussion list, and we use
these to publish updates on our work and to respond to questions from other groups.

Local media
As well as publicising our services through news releases to the local press and broadcast media, we scan
the local press for information about new community groups, and approach them directly to offer

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Page 19

Section 6: Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation
Evaluation and Planning
Monitoring and evaluation are key parts of our
work. They are needed both for planning
purposes and to ensure that the Centre is
working properly.
We therefore ask ourselves, at regular intervals,
six key questions:

Asking these questions means that we can
respond quickly to the developing needs of our
user groups.
There are a number of indicators we use to help
us do this. The central ones are:

statistical information

user feedback

Does all of our work continue to fulfil our

Do our services enable groups to organise
more effectively in the community?

discussions with partners

staff views

Are we providing equal access to all services?

management response

Does our organisation remain efficient and

Do our services remain distinct and continue
to complement those of other agencies?

In some ways these overlap, and there is
interplay between them, but it is still possible to
outline them separately.

Are we identifying changes in the needs of
groups and gaps in service provision?

Statistical information
The Centre collects, and processes, very detailed
information about every use of our services.
For groups that visit the Centre:

We record the name of the group and whether
it is active in Brighton & Hove or elsewhere.
We can therefore say with great accuracy how
many groups use us and where they are

We record every use of our services. This
means we can say exactly how often groups
have used each piece of equipment or
benefited from some advice or support. This
information is valuable when considering
what equipment to replace, what new
equipment we need to buy, and the amount
of worker time we need to meet special
support needs.

We record the topics covered in each support
session and make brief notes about the
current issues facing the group. This
information informs our regular staff
evaluations of the impact of our support

Page 20

work, and enables us to track changes in the
needs of each group over time.

Every two years, we ask a sample of groups
about their activities and how they are
organised. This information helps us to build
up a good picture of the characteristics of
small community groups in the city.

For groups that use our website:

We record each individual computer that
accesses the site, and which pages they have
visited. From this information we are able to
analyse where they are located and which
areas of the website they have used. While
this doesn’t give us the group name of
website users, unlike our previous use of a
monitoring form, it does enable us to track
how widely we are being used and which
information is used most.

Taken together this statistical information forms
the bedrock of both our planning and our
monitoring. It demonstrates the sheer quantity of
the use of the Centre.
Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 6: Monitoring and Evaluation
User feedback
Quantity is not the only question, of course. We
also need to be assured of the quality of what we
are doing. We therefore use:

A biennial survey of all groups who use the
Centre in a particular month. This
consistently has a very high response rate
from groups and gives us a structured and
comparable view of what users think of us.
A comments box prominently displayed in the
Centre. This allows any user to comment at
any time, and provides a more informal way
to receive groups’ ideas and comments. We
routinely ask groups how their events went,
and often get useful suggestions from them
for new items of equipment or ways we could
improve our service.

Short-term feedback cards to gather specific
feedback on a particular item of equipment
for a limited period of time. This gives us
information about the type of events where
our equipment is used.

Evaluation forms for specific pieces of work.
These enable us to find out immediately what
people thought of a session we have done
with them.

Taken together, these give us a comprehensive
picture of what users think of the Centre as whole
and of specific pieces of work.

Discussions with partners
Although our services are unique, we are not, of course, the only agency offering support to groups in the
city. Through our partnership working with other infrastructure support agencies, we aim to share
experience, co-ordinate activities and guard against any wasteful duplication.

Views of staff
The figures on use, and the feedback from users, give a good picture of how we are meeting the current
needs of existing users. However, we also have to look at new needs and emerging groups, to ensure that
our services don’t become static. This requires an analysis of both where we are now and how things are
changing for groups, and here we lean heavily on the views of our staff.
We regularly evaluate our work in staff meetings, sharing insight from our one-to-one support sessions as
well as from conversations at the front desk.

Management committee
The final aspect of monitoring and evaluating our work is the input of our management committee. This
committee plays three roles. Firstly, as they are elected from the type of groups we particularly prioritise,
they are well placed to comment on our work from the perspective of these groups. Secondly they play the
more formal role of ensuring that the development of our work takes place on a solid basis: they monitor
our financial situation, and our compliance with legal obligations and best practice. Finally, they draw

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Page 21

Section 7: Financial and Fundraising strategy

Budgets 2017-20: Income
2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Equipment services
Reprographic service
















Third Sector Investment Programme




B&H Housing Services




City Early Years and Childcare




East Brighton Trust




Donations and fundraising


Office service
Equipment for meetings & events

Special Support service
Member discount
Grants and donations

Other Grants




Bank interest




Total income

190,174 176,585 172,182

Page 22

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 7: Financial and Fundraising strategy

Budgets 2017-20: Expenditure
2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Equipment services






Information Service




Special Support Service


























Reprographic service
Equipment for meetings & events

Tenants’ Association Support
Support costs of charitable activities

Staff costs

Management, Admin & Fundraising
Staff costs

Bank charges
HMRC - non-business VAT

Total expenditure
Net Income (expenditure)

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20


187,260 186,972 181,958
2,914 (10,387)


Page 23

Section 7: Financial and Fundraising strategy

Financial and Fundraising
As the budgets on the preceding pages show, our
financial situation during these three years is
serious but not critical. For various reasons,
outlined below, we are predicting a deficit in years
two and three of the plan and may be forced to
finance this from our reserves. This would leave
reserves at a very low level. We also need to raise
around £10,000 a year (shown as ‘other grants’)
in one-off donations.
This is, as we say, serious. On the other hand it is
not unusual. Finding funding is difficult for
everybody in the current climate and it is
common for groups to be living from one year to
the next. In that context a relatively stable threeyear plan is positive. Our reserves give us time to
resolve the problem.

Taken together these mean we need either to find
new sources of funding within the period or run
our reserves down to almost nothing.
We are therefore continuing to devote staff time to
attempting to reduce costs, to looking at ways to
increase the income we generate ourselves and to
fundraising from external sources. We are
confident in the value and quality of our work,
and have a good track record of raising funds.
However we recognise, of course, that in the
current climate there are no guarantees especially
in the short term.
In this context we have made a number of hard
decisions to buy ourselves time, to make the
Centre more sustainable and to preserve existing
services as much as possible

To look at this in more detail: on the positive side,
demand for our services is as high as ever, and
the income we derive from these services is
holding up. In addition the new Third Sector
Investment Programme (TSIP) gives a substantial
level of statutory funding for three years. We also
remain confident in our ability to successfully
raise part of our costs from trusts.

In response to the reduction in Council
funding we have temporarily reduced overall
staff time available by just under 6%. Having
less staff time available will inevitably mean
longer waiting lists for users but we see no
alternative. We hope to find a way to reverse
this cut, and the effect on groups, in the
medium term.

More negatively we face three problems:

In response to the uncertainty about the CCG
contribution we have cut the hourly rate paid
to staff by approximately 9.5%. Our hope is
that if the CCG situation is resolved positively
we will be able to reverse this cut in this year.
It is worth noting that this reduction in wages
was suggested by staff who unanimously
agreed it. This underlines the commitment of
the staff team to the Centre and its services.

The Council funding under TSIP is lower than
their contribution to our work in previous
years. This reduction will be more severe in
years two and three of the Business Plan, as
there is a year-on-year reduction built into
the programme.

Worse, the Clinical Commissioning Group
(CCG) has still not committed to fully funding
their share of TSIP after September 2017.
Since the outcomes we are delivering under
TSIP are mainly those supported by the City
Council we hope the effect on us of any cut
will be minimal. However, this will all need to
be negotiated with partners.

Finally, we have been carrying a deficit since
the end of our Money in Mind project in
September 2014. Although we had reserves to
deal with this deficit we are depleting these
and urgently need to replace this project

Page 24

While these decisions have stabilised the financial
position they are not without consequences. As
stated the cut in worker time available will
immediately impact the length of time groups
have to wait and eventually the number of groups
we can support. While our staff are dedicated they
also need to be able to meet their individual
financial commitments: a permanent cut in wages
runs the risk of losing the experienced and stable
staff group which is one of our major assets.

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

Section 8: Appendices

Appendix 1: List of equipment
Money making
sideshow games

Inflatables, play and
sports equipment

Meetings, displays
and presentations

Ball in Bucket (2 available)
Buzz Wire
Buzzer Hand (2 available)
Clown Striker
Coconut Shy (3 available)
Give the Dog a Bone
Hook a Duck (2 available)
Hoopla Blocks
Lucky striker
Milk the cow
Mouse-hole Golf
Pick a lolly
Pick an Egg
Play your Cards right
Roll a Penny (2 available)
Spin the Wheel
Stocks (2 available)
Surprise Fishing (2 available)
Target Wall
Whack the Rat (2 available)

Activity Chest
Balancing Toys Set
Balloon Typhoon
Bouncy Castle
Egg and Spoon Race
Football goals (2 sets available)
Hop Sacks (2 sets available)
Hula hoops
Multi target
Skipping ropes
Play Parachute (3 available)
Tug of war rope (2 available)

A Board
Clip boards (8 available)
Data Projectors (4 available)
Digital cameras (3 available)
DVD Player
Exhibition Boards (6 sets)
Flip chart
Free standing sign
Induction Loop
Infra Red Hearing System
Overhead Projector
PA equipment for meetings (6)
PC Laptops (2 available)
Projector Stand
Screens (4 available)
Slide Projector
Video Cameras (2 available)

Other equipment for
fêtes and fairs
Badge Machines (7 available)
Candy floss machines (4 avail.)
Lucky Dip Tub
Money Aprons (48 available)
Popcorn machine
Tombola drums (3 available)

Disco and party

Air Hockey
Bar Skittles
Bingo machine
Giant Connect 4 (2 available)
Giant Dominoes
Giant Jenga (3 available)
Giant Kerplunk (2 available)
Giant Ludo
Giant Pick up sticks
Giant Snakes and Ladders
Giant Twister
Shove Ha'penny
Table Football
Table Tennis

CD player
Disco lights and stand
Karaoke Machine
Mixing desk
PA equipment for parties

Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

In the print room
Colour laser printer/scanner
Colour inkjet printer
2 digital duplicators
Booklet maker
Folding machine
4 Windows PCs

Other useful items
Bench (4 available)
Cassette Recorder
Collection tins (15 available)
Collecting buckets (4 available)
Extension Reel (2 available)
Flasks (2 available)
Folding Table (6 available)
Hi-vis tabards
Water Boiler (4 available)

Page 25

Section 8: Appendices

Appendix 2: Usage of the Centre
Website usage

Groups and visits


Outside the






Brighton &



B&H visitors

Visits to website overall




Visits from Brighton & Hove
Visits incl. views of info pages
Visits incl. views of equipment




Equipment hire service
Equipment for Meetings

Fundraising equipment

Play equipment

Projectors and screens


Games for fetes & fairs


Giant board games


Public Address
Exhibition Boards


Badge machines



Water boilers and




Flip chart and signs


Other equipment for


Community print

Candy floss and
Money aprons & hi-viz


Fun sports and active
Disco & party
Table-top games

Collecting tins/


Tug of war ropes



Play parachutes


Other fundraising




Information, advice and support services
Design & print service

Laser printer
Copyprinters (DIY)
Inkjet printer
Folding machine
Booklet maker
Printing service
Other print resources




Page 26




Information services at
the centre
Advice on demand


Intensive advice &
Examination of
Quick support sessions








Resource Centre business plan 2017-20

How to find us
Prior House
6 Tilbury Place
Brighton, BN2 0GY
Tel: (01273) 606160
T @ResourceCtrBH

Opening hours
Tuesday to Friday, 9am to 4pm

Tilbury Place has pay and display
parking (coin meters).
Bike racks outside building.
Nearest bus route: 18/23
(Egremont Gate stop)

The Centre is fully wheelchair
accessible, with a ramped
entrance, wide doors throughout,
and an accessible toilet.
Two disabled parking bays in
Tilbury Place.
If you need us to do anything to
make our services accessible to
you, please let us know.

B&H SWET Ltd Registered Company no. 1730256
Registered Charity no. 287516.
Registered for VAT no. 861 1001 75.

June 2017


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