|Fund:||Business Support in Scotland|
|How the money was used:||
Easthall Residents Association (ERA) was formed in 1973 to support residents within the Easthall Community of Greater Easterhouse, Glasgow.
ERA is based in the Glenburn Centre, a building it shares with Easthall Housing Co-op and operates a varied service delivery schedule with the aim of engaging residents, increasing health and wellbeing, promoting inclusion, reducing isolation and relieving poverty within the area. Much of this work focuses on the development of young people, and people with additional support needs. Volunteer opportunities are offered, and the organisation helps many to gain qualifications and access further training education and employment.
The organisation is very ambitious and knows that it can, and needs to, do more within the community. The Centre is extremely busy and the physical constraints of the building limit plans for growth. The centre also houses a café which largely supports the service users, and which is therefore under-exploited.
ERA had been awarded a Scottish Land Fund Stage Two grant to acquire two neglected and derelict sites next to the Glenburn Community Centre to create two areas that will provide: leisure facilities for the community, aiming to improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of residents.
How we helped
Support was sought to develop a business plan for the organisation, and to help prepare the Board for the organisation’s growth and development.
Through face to face meetings, facilitated sessions and email correspondence, SIB provided support to ERA to:
- Help them to write and produce a broad business plan for the organisation to give structure to and support the planned developments
- Help the board develop their skills through sessions on governance and their role as Trustees and directors and facilitating some strategic planning which fed into the business plan.
Throughout the work, other issues were discussed, and information and other appropriate support provided. These included: raising the profile of the organisation, and potentially changing its name to better suit its role; managing the relationship with the local housing association, a close partner but where boundaries had become blurred; fundraising; option appraisal and risk management.
Specialist support was also provided through SIB to review options for the café, options which were built into the business plan.
What was the outcome?
The main outputs of the support were:
- A business plan, written by the manager, presented to and accepted by the board
- A more effective board with greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities
- The start of a clearer conversation and understanding about the relationship of the organisation with the local housing co-op
- A clearer understanding of the potential and options for the café
- A board decision on the preferred approach to physical expansion
During the period of the support ERA was successful in accessing funding from Children in Need which helped to secure some key posts and the land negotiations with Glasgow City Council were successfully concluded, with ERA soon to take ownership of the 2 identified sites. ERA is now much better prepared and able to progress the land developments, with the first planned stage being a revisiting with the community of the earlier plans and feasibility study.
“The benefit of this work to ERA has been the creation of a Business Plan giving a clear direction & strategic plan in order to support our growth & development. The plan covers increasing capacity, resources, projects & services in order to support the sustainability of our organisation for years to come. The organisation thanks to this support is better prepared to develop a plan to make our Cafe work for us & become better utilised.
Further support has made our Board more confident & understand their roles & responsibilities clearer & most importantly this has created a clearer understanding of their obligation to lead the organisation. Our Board is now exploring, as a result of this support, sub-groups to focus on specific areas of our business, Fundraising, Finance & audit, Marketing & Communications to name a few.
Overall, due to this support we have become a more streamlined, aware, strategic and a healthier organisation.”
Andy Gilbert, Project Co-ordinator, ERA