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Since the implementation of the 2011 Localism Act we are being contacted by a wide range of locally based organisations and individuals who are keen to take over, or develop a local building or other asset to deliver ‘not for profit’ community facing services and facilities, such as charitable centres, community hubs, arts and craft centres, bakeries / social enterprises, libraries and training and information centres.   

Whist it is often the case that local groups are made up of highly skilled retired and working professionals such as accountants, solicitors, teachers and architects, it is often the case that collectively they lack the skills and experience to establish if the proposed project is feasible.  For example, whereas there is often a [perceived] community ‘need’, it is all too often the case that a ‘business case’ has not been established.

We normally suggest that enquirers consider the following:

  • Do you / your group have the skills, experience and governance arrangements in place to manage the proposed facility?
  • Do you have enough people with the skills and time available to establish a Board / Management Group?
  • What will be the legal format of your group?
  • Does the wider community and potential service users support what you are looking to achieve?
  • Is there a clear need (community and social)?
  • Are others delivering that need?
  • Do you risk duplicating or replicating existing services / another organisation that may be struggling for funding / retaining existing jobs?
  • How much funding will it take to set up (capital costs)?
  • Where will the funding come from?
  • Will there be sufficient [revenue] funding to cover day to day running costs?
  • How much are revenue costs likely to be?
  • Are there any legal issues that may get in the way of the venture?
  • When do you need a Business Plan?
  • What needs to be in it?

Once the above has been addressed, we recommend that organisations set about delivering a feasibility study, which needs to consider key issues such as:

  • Establishing and proving a ‘need’ for what you plan to deliver – community and social
  • Understanding what services you plan to deliver to meet such needs, and how you plan to deliver them.  What are risks, and are such plans sustainable?
  • Understanding the market – like any business, who are your competitors and what are your unique selling points (USPs)?
  • Fully understanding and justifying capital and revenue costs
  • Considering the need to employ staff and if the right staff are available
  • Exploring the potential of utilising local volunteers
  • Establishing the sustainability of revenue income
  • Locating and working with partners and stakeholders (public, community, voluntary and private sectors). Identifying what’s in for them (WIFT), and how your may develop strategic alliances
  • Developing ethical policies and procedures
  • Locating potential funding
  • Understanding if you are in possession of the skills and experience to apply for funding
  • Assessing the likelihood of success in securing funding
  • Understanding timescales and cut off points

It is all too often the case that start up groups or individuals do not have the time, resources or skills to address such complex and important issues. 

Failure to prepare is often the first step to preparing to fail.

We have seen too many initiatives fail at the first hurdle, or collapse after a couple of years, as scarce and hard to find revenue funding dries up.  We therefore strongly recommend that you look to employ an experienced consultant to deliver an independent feasibility study on your behalf. 

An example of a recent feasibility study is available at link –

Cost of a feasibility study – this is always a difficult question to answer until the work involved can be fully established.  Costs can be reduced if the client is for example, able to provide data and information.  The way forward is to liaise closely with your consultant, who should always aim to deliver Wider Impact’s policy of delivering high qualityvalue for money services and support.

Funding is out there to fund such studies, which may be available through your local authority, or through organisations such as the National Lottery – see link , or the Social Investment Business Group – see link

We trust this is useful, and ask that you do not hesitate to contact me at if I can assist you further.

Initail advice is always FREE, and I really look forward to hearing from you!

Please feel free to circulate this hopefully useful blog to others.

Kindest regards

Edwin :-)


Wider Impact Consultancy, Edwin Lewis