As part of the Making Local Woods Work programme Shared Assets provided support to Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise (RWCE) in reviewing their governance and developing a five year business plan.
RWCE was established in 2013 as a not for profit company limited by guarantee. They agreed a community asset transfer of a council-owned 560 acre woodland and with no significant funding, relied on partnerships with local community workers and the Woodland Trust to undertake community engagement, woodland management and forestry activities in the woodlands.
Shared Assets undertook a governance review alongside board members, and developed a business model and fundraising strategy to review local policy priorities and new and emerging funding opportunities.
The governance review looked at both the purpose and legal structure of RWCE: aiming to clarify aims and purpose and establish a vision for the coming 3-5 years. The review made recommendations which aimed to enable the organisation to fulfill its ambitions to manage the woodland as a community asset for the people of Scarborough, such as suggesting a new legal structure with a statutory asset lock.
The business plan review was to update the existing business plan, create a five year income and expenditure model and identify how the organisation could secure start-up funding and develop a sustainable revenue income model. It was proposed to secure working capital to develop the business by applying to charitable foundations. A fundraising strategy was developed which sought to secure start-up funding for ‘core staff and functions’ such as office costs and essential equipment, from one funder and to secure ‘business development’ funding, for education and forestry staff and equipment, from a second funder. The board of RWCE took forward these applications based on the business plan and guidance provided.
Shared Assets brought to this project:
- An in depth knowledge of issues of governance, legal structures and business model development for environmental social enterprises.
- An understanding of the funding environment and the priorities and concerns of funders within this sector.
- The ability to design and deliver processes which enabled a board of varied experience and capacity to engage confidently with complex issues and reach agreement on their purpose and priorities.