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Tips for communities and groups

Advice about taking on community assets
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We have brought together our learning to develop the following advice for communities and groups taking on community assets:

  • Be clear about why you want to take control, and most importantly, how you will pay for upkeep and services. Owning and running buildings and similar facilities can present you with all sorts of possibilities, but it also brings new responsibilities.
  • Keep local residents and other organisations involved. Celebrate your success in winning funding for your project, but be clear to everyone that this is just the beginning of a long process – don’t be surprised if support seems to flow away when you win funding.
  • Don’t be frightened of asking funders and other partners to provide you with technical support to manage planning for your capital project.
  • Although the capital project will take up a lot of your time, it’s essential to plan how you are going to fund activities (and your new building or resource) once it is running. You will need to think about this from the earliest stages.
  • You will need a Plan B and Plan C (at least) as wider circumstances can change. Don’t assume that your funders will continue to support you into the future, or that groups interested in paying to use your facility will have the money to do so.
  • You need to develop realistic plans to generate income. This means thinking entirely differently about how you work. For instance, developing strong commercial and marketing approaches. Funders will often talk about ‘independence’, in short, this means that they want you to move away from relying on grants.
  • This also means considering different types of finance like loans, investments and community shares.