Tips for policy makers and funders
Advice for others involved in community assets
Our experience of funding community asset projects has enabled us to identify advice for policy makers and funders who are also engaged in this work:
- Be clear about your expectations from the outset. Capital projects are usually only the beginning of making a difference so think about how the new or improved facilities will be maintained and run.
- Ensure that you offer projects technical and developmental support before, during and after your funding. There is no shortage of enthusiasm for or ideas about capital improvements, but making those ideas a reality is not so straightforward. Successful projects involve maintaining community involvement and developing and implementing business plans that will often challenge communities’ ideas about possibilities.
- Remember that groups’ skills will need to change from technical project management and working with contractors to running facilities and maximising income and community engagement. Make sure that your plans support projects’ need to change their focus accordingly.
- Building trust and levels of engagement with the local community and potential users of the new facility is essential throughout and beyond the capital stage.
- Don’t impose complex top-down requirements and make sure that you consider the effects of any new facilities on existing provision in the area. The most successful projects work with the community’s own needs and perspectives.
- Promote partnership working between projects and other funders and providers in the area.