Derby Multi-Faith Centre: enhancing organisational strengths, strategy and governance 

Commissioned by the well-established Multi Faith Centre based at the University of Derby, Civil Society Consulting assisted them with an organisational strengths and Governance Review to establish how best to improve overall performance and scope future developments as they adapt their work in times of Covid-19 recovery. The team was tasked with guiding them in the production of a governance improvement plan, linked to an ambitious and fresh five year business plan, strategy and budget. 

“Mark understands civic society and how the faith sector operates. Despite the challenges that the lockdown presented, he immersed himself with our work, taking time to understand our organisation’s unique needs and bringing relevant ideas and solutions. 

Providing the right balance of support and challenge combined with  clear, concise communication and actionable plans helped create consensus and generate momentum as trustees and staff developed our new strategic plan with energy, shared-purpose, and direction.”

Geoff Sweeney, Director of Derby Multi-faith Centre

Transforming Communities Together

Transforming Communities Together (TCT) is a regional charity working in the Midlands and the Black Country to address a range of issues, including poverty, social justice, social inclusion, and community wellbeing. Established in 2014, Transforming Communities Together has established a reputation of innovative and generous leadership, working with individuals, faith groups and communities and launching a range of initiatives to tackle homelessness, modern slavery, mental ill-health, and beyond. 

We have been working in partnership with Transforming Communities Together on several projects, including business planning, project development and fundraising. In addition, we were commissioned to review and assess recent anti-modern slavery action, awareness raising, and the development of strategic partnerships to reduce this crime and support victims of it. This assessment culminated in a report designed to enhance a large grant application to the National Lottery to facilitate future partnership working towards effective action against exploitation. 

” Transforming Communities Together has grown, in six years, from a small charity of £50k/year to a medium charity of £350k/year. With that growth has come the need to develop robust business plans and to articulate a coherent strategy. Mark Ereira-Guyer’s input, and Civil Society Consulting CIC, has been most valuable, combining clear thinking with purposefulness.

Working collaboratively on several different commissions, the outcomes have had both immediate benefits and established sound pathways into the future. The robust challenges have been shared gracefully and ensured sustainable growth. The team recently completed a review of our partnership development work to tackle modern slavery and human exploitation in our charity’s area of benefit.”

The Revd Dr David Primrose, Chief Executive Officer of Transforming Communities Together (Wolverhampton)

Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland

Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland tackles a wide range of social issues including loneliness, homelessness, food insecurity and other challenges faced by children and families. Working in one of the most income-deprived areas in the country, TM&C is dedicated to bridge this gap in social provision through a range of community-based projects, dedicated to the promotion of social justice. 

The team at CSC has been working with TM&C in key areas of marketing, community engagement, and strategic support. We have helped help the organisation secure funding from two major funders to scale up and continue its vital work. Additionally, we are also helping TM&C produce an impactful piece of community engagement research to support their future funding proposals. 

It would be no exaggeration to say that working with Mark and the team at CSC has been transformational for Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland! As with many small charitable organisations, we have had a tough 2020 and needed additional capacity to get us back on track. CSC have helped us to source appropriate funding opportunities; develop Webinars to support local organisations; improve our communications and social media presence; carry out a COVID Impact Survey with our community; firm up our future strategic direction; and much, much, more! All of the team are a pleasure to work with, knowledgeable, efficient, and responsive – couldn’t ask for more. With CSC as a lifeline, we enter 2021 in a much stronger financial and strategic position.” 

Kate Jeffels
Chief Officer 
Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland

Together Liverpool

Together Liverpool aims to equip Churches, Communities and Charities to bring hope, resources and support to their neighbours, so they can make a bigger difference in their communities.

The charity works to support and promote a wide range of social and financial inclusion projects in the extremely deprived city of Liverpool and the surrounding area. By working in partnership with key local partners, in particular with local churches and their congregations who provide invaluable volunteer support, Together Liverpool delivers front-line social action programmes that really make a difference to the lives of people living in poverty, including support to provide foodbanks, community meals and community markets, work to tackle social exclusion, including for asylum seekers settling in the area and financial inclusion through running training and offering support to those affected by debt and other financial issues and working in primary schools to train children about managing money.

Mark initially started working with Together Liverpool towards the development of the charity’s first business plan, working closely with the trustees, volunteers and users to do this. Through this process the charity developed not only a business plan but also a 5 year budget and a fundraising plan and then with support from James, a number of funding bids were developed and submitted, including a major application developed by Mark and Ellen, the charity’s Chair, to the National Lottery for step-change funding to enable the charity to go to another level and respond to more of the pressing social and deprivation issues the city is experiencing.

“We just found out we got over £160,000 from the Lottery. You can’t imagine what this means. Out of over 300 areas in the country, we mainly work with people who live in the 2nd and the 4th most deprived places, and there is precious little here to help people in need. But with this money, we will double our income for the next 3 years and be able to help 1000s more desperately poor and unhappy people to improve the quality of their lives and give them a chance of a decent future, despite the problems in our area.

“The help Mark gave us has been top drawer. He is a wonderful to work with and tenacious too, as this process took well over a year to come to fruition and he was with us all the way – supporting, encouraging and never giving up.”

Ellen Louden, Chair
Together Liverpool

Goldhill Adventure Playground

The Goldhill Adventure Playground provides play, learning and social inclusion opportunities to children and young people, living in a highly socially disadvantaged catchment area in Leicester – the Saffron Lane housing estate in Eyres Monsell – one of the most deprived locations nationally. Alongside its adventure play facilities spread over 1.5 acres of wooded terrain, the charity also provides activities like football, table tennis, pottery, music and drama, as well homework clubs and 1-1 support to excluded and learning-disabled children. Parents also access information, advice and support about parenting, managing debt and finding work.

James and Mark were initially asked to help Goldhill with some fundraising, but it soon became clear that the charity could benefit from a wider range of support as well. After carrying out an external evaluation of the charity’s services through consulting local young people and parents, the Civil Society Consulting team worked closely with Goldhill’s trustees, staff, volunteers and users to develop a business plan, a fundraising plan, new evaluation procedures, a promotional impact report and also provided training and support to strengthen the charity’s board of trustees. And from this platform, since 2015, Mark and James have supported Goldhill to raise over £450,000 of new funding from a wide range of sources like the National Lottery, Children in Need and Sport England.

“James and Mark have been really fantastic for Goldhill. We know the work we do here is highly through of and valued by local people, but as a very small charity, we always struggle… When they started working with us, Mark and James helped us to take time out and think about the best direction for Goldhill.

“They helped us to improve our evaluation, marketing and approach to fundraising. Lots of our funding is being cut but they have helped us do the things needed not only to maintain, but also to grow, out funding income. Since they started working with us in 2015, our income has gone up by nearly 50% in four years and we are now able to work with lots more young people and families who are really struggling in their lives and offer them support when lots of other places round here are closing down. Plus, we are now much more confident to apply for funding ourselves as they have given us lots of advice, hints and tips. I cant recommend them enough. They are worth their weight in gold.”

Dee Dixon, Playground Manager,
Goldhill Adventure Playground, Leicester

Barking and Dagenham Somali Women’s Association

Barking and Dagenham Somali Women Association is dedicated charity to improve Health & Wellness of Women and their families in Barking & Dagenham and surrounding boroughs by providing information, advice and guidance in areas of Welfare, Housing and Health, Skills and Training and employability, homework club, Sport activities and User led Community Wellness Cafe with leisure and social activities.

“The team have been brilliant, and their support came at the right time for us, and it is lifeline to sustain the organisation at this difficult time of austerity.”

Zahra Ibrahim, Director
Barking and Dagenham Somali Women’s Association