Kilmarnock Station Railway Heritage Trust is a SCIO that was formed in 2014 to bring a number of redundant railway offices into community use.
Train stations are real community hubs, so why not utilise that asset to maximise local social impact? Kilmarnock Station Railway Heritage Trust do just that, offering office space and meeting rooms for use by a range of local groups, as well as a gift shop, book shop and coffee shop. These all offer employment and training opportunities for people with addiction and mental health issues and rehabilitation opportunities for ex-offenders. At the time of referral, there were three full-time staff.
The organisation had achieved a great deal since inception and was very ambitious to continue developing their services. The basement area of their current facility was being developed in addition to the other building in Kilmarnock centre. They were applying for funding for a training and were already exploring good partnership links (health board and others) for the use of this facility.
They were also keen to get some key service contracts which will help bring in some core funding, and were aiming also to get SQA accreditation for kitchen and for employability work. There is also an active travel service located in building again that pays a donation. Running costs (ex-staff) are covered by income from these and from a range of courses provided.They had started to think seriously about income generation (for example, charging for classes and room hire) and had identified the potential to do interesting things with their training kitchen to generate more income.
How we helped
The Trust requested support to increase its generated income and create sustainability plans to secure its future. Specific areas that the Trust wanted to explore were branding/marketing of existing facilities and activities; maximising potential of resources; increasing footfall; and exploring expansion options.
The advisor first met them in May 2018. The initial support agreed was to:
- Review and comment on service contract proposals to DWP and to CSCP
- Discuss options for raising profile / image / telling stories of what they do
- Review plans for the training kitchen – involving the SIB community café specialist
Support was provided on areas 1-3. In addition, the advisor also discussed with them some concerns they had about how VAT should be reported and provided them with some VAT specialist details. They also asked about when to go to Lottery to discuss continuation funding and were advised to talk to their FO as soon as possible.
What was the outcome?
The support was terminated at the end of Stage One. Kilmarnock Station Railway Heritage Trust are a terrific organisation: support was appreciated and advice taken on board. However, they were absolutely right not to try and work with too many consultants at once, given the size of the organisation, and it was appropriate for SIB to stand back once other consultants were involved. The specialist café / training kitchen advice was particularly appreciated and appropriate to their needs.