Firs Community Benefit Society (CBS)Chris Impey
Sale West Community Centre team needed to introduce a sustainable business model that generates income streams providing growth for the organisation before, during and after their transfer from Newbury Avenue to Goodwood Field on Manor Avenue adjacent to the Firsway Health Centre. This move offers the potential to connect with the local community by growing the business side of a new-build community centre, whilst serving the health and wellbeing of the Sale West area. Adopting this approach provides opportunities to increase resources, activities and funding through these complementary objectives fulfilling a strategic fit between social and organisational objectives, attracting social investment for growth.
Coaching Communities introduced a strategic direction to address the different needs and wishes of a wide catchment area. The scope and size of the area identified the type of activity, the level of competition and sport specific travel time. The majority of activities will attract a local catchment such as aerobics and dance but some activities with a more dedicated clientele such as Pilates or Cross-Fit will draw from a wider geographic area. This will be reflected in the pricing policy that feeds into the financial planning and contribute to the delivery of social objectives which improve the health and wellbeing of the local community. These objectives include creating employment opportunities, introducing education programmes, contribution to crime reduction and enhancing the economic growth of the community.
The new centre will be operated in a format that provides sustainable growth whilst aligning future development with the needs of the local community. Activities introduced through a pre-build programme is generating income for the organisation during the build phase, encouraging new members and participants to take up activities that are currently not being offered such as Walking Football and Netball, and Dancing. Extending this strategy to cover health improvements and wellbeing objectives increases political support, addresses concerns of local residents and grows revenue streams. However developing a focus based around the service offered to the community addresses the current and future health needs of the local community including young people, women and the more mature residents, focusing particularly on health and wellbeing by creating a centre for improving the fundamental lifestyle choices of the community, based around the health and community hub, in what is a reasonably affluent area.
Firs CBS and Coaching Communities CIC have drawn together an integrated approach to producing a coherent set of activities which would be dovetailed with the future development objectives of the project and the community. Further development will provide opportunities to introduce informal and formal arrangement with the Firsway Health Centre addressing the health and wellbeing of local residents who benefit from activities that are linked to issues such as obesity, cardiovascular health, loneliness and poor lifestyle choices. The strategic direction enhances current development and funding opportunities that are available and the funding shift that will take place over the next decade; by increasing the level of physical activity and health whilst preserving the essence of a community centre. A focus on social impact enables the club to access funding by addressing local needs including health and wellbeing, community cohesion, loneliness and even physical literacy that whilst not normally associated with physical activity, increases social benefits.
Concept Design of a New-Build Community Sports Organisation
The integration of an effective Operational Structure, enhanced Volunteering and Sportbanking will be the key to an efficient centre operation, this approach was informed by a Future Search programme held with the leadership team and the community benefit society membership to establish the operational priorities, principles and protocols.
Future Search Programme
A Future Search Programme for the community generated a shared vision for the future one agreed amongst society members.
Alignment of Activities and Facilities
The development and agreement of the appropriate activities in facilities of the correct specification created a platform to identify the human resource levels necessary to operate the community centre.
Extended Human Resource Structure
The efficient and effective development of the organisation was underpinned by an Extended Volunteering programme, Sportbanking, Education Establishments partnership, and a Community Partnership.
Facilities and Activities
Initial assessment indicated that the majority of clubs, organisations and activities would transfer to the new facility at Goodwood Field through a series of Single Business Units (SBUs) that would include:
- Facilities and Activities
- The Health Hub
- Healthy Catering Function
Initial assessment identified alternative modus operandi that can be introduced into the development of the future operation.
The Health Hub
A Health Hub would be physical and virtual, drawing on the expertise and facilities of the Firsway Health Centre adjacent to the centre and through a partnership with the Manchester Met Uni team. Social investment increases the scale of the facility thereby growing the number of health and wellbeing outcomes, increasing benefits for the Covid-19 vulnerable groups worst affected and ameliorating the impact that Covid-19 has had on older people and the BAME communities.
Healthy Catering Facilities
The catering function will be designed as a focal point for the centre providing a meeting place for individuals participating in activities during the day. The catering will be informed by research, thereby providing healthy, nutritious, and tasty food.
The income generated by the facilities will be estimated against operational capacity, and pricing structure providing a well-informed operational income base.
Income generated from the Single Business Units including Education, Catering and Health and Wellbeing, will employ a flexible approach to utilise common-use areas:
Education It is the intention is to offer training and education programmes that will be held in a flexible space, including, Traineeships, Apprenticeships at Level 5, Coaching Qualifications for various sports.
Catering There should be a two-fold operation of the catering function that will replace the current offer at Sale West Community Centre presenting opportunities to cater for the needs of the members and participants improving the wellbeing of local residents in a healthy eating partnership.
Health and Wellbeing The issue of health and wellbeing is one of the most important aspects of the operation not only from a social and health perspective but also from a budgeting perspective as it can introduce significant ‘clean’ income streams. Arrangements with the Firsway Health Centre, CCGs, and the NHS to extend the opportunities for the community centre, are in place, with a view to expanding its impact on the health of the local community.
Development of the community, led by the Our Sale West board, will focus on Place, Employment and Training, Health & Wellbeing and Youth Activities will provide strong foundations for the engagement work at the community centre. The proposed rationale is to utilise the ‘hook’ that sport and physical activity provides to engage more local residents in activities that will be a combination of Social and Economic Value, whilst simultaneously contributing to the development of the community. The benefits driven by this project emphasise meeting shared objectives.
The centre will have a significant impact on the local environment simply through the build, increasing investment that introduces further complementary activities that promote healthier lifestyles supported by an ‘accessible for all’ catering outlet.
Employment and Training
The centre will provide a focus on employment pathways by delivering the training that puts individuals on the first rung of the employability ladder whilst simultaneously contributing to the operation of the centre. Developing these employment pathways will build a capacity to extend the education programmes offered to the benefit of the individuals, the centre and the community.
Health and Wellbeing
The relationship with the Firsway Health Centre will generate an innovative health and wellbeing hub with a strategic organisational fit that combines physical activity and health in an elegant preventative medicine programme. Offering referral programmes from the health centre by encouraging patients to address their health issues through participating in physical activity, provides a symbiotic relationship between the two local resources.
Provision of Youth Activities
Not only should the centre provide for those activities and groups housed at the Sale West Community Centre but there are opportunities to introduce a significant number of alternative lucrative income streams, dependent upon the strategic direction taken by the centre. Health driven activities need to be assessed against the Income/Social Value principle as they should generate both social and financial value.
However the foundations laid through the operation at the new community centre should be considered as future sources of growth and capacity building. Wellness programmes including Education and Corporate Wellness programmes can generate major benefits for local schools and businesses with the potential for a football academy, that encourages girls and women to take up a healthy lifestyle.