GL Communities secures funding to establish its long term sustainability

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GL Communities is a strong and vibrant charity in Matson, Gloucester that specialises in neighbourhood work and community engagement. It was founded in 2010 but its roots stretch back over 25 years.

Changes in the funding landscape in the past three or four years mean that, like many charities, it is becoming too heavily reliant on short-term contracts for funding. Such a short term view is unhelpful both for the long term health of the organisation but, more importantly, the communities in which it works. This is because while short term projects allow it to provide vital services and support to the communities’ residents, they do not allow it to put in place the longer term strategies that more effectively address the longstanding issues the communities face. For example, in 2014 it completed a three year programme sponsored by Gloucester City Council to recruit 210 long term unemployed residents for on-the-job training in landscaping and carpentry and saw nearly 30% move into full-time employment as a result.

GL Communities wants to diversify its income streams to be less reliant on short-term funding but does not have the capacity within its team to explore, develop or implement a strategy that would enable it to do this. As part of a wider piece of work looking at its long term business plan, it therefore sought a grant to appoint a consultant to explore the opportunities that were available and put a long term sustainability plan in place.

I had met GL Communities’ Principal Sue Cunningham in 2014 as a result of my mentoring relationship with Business in the Community Business Connector Sarah Sheasby. Sue has boundless energy and an inspirational passion for the work she does and I have a tremendous respect for her commitment to her organisation.

Sue approached me to see if I could offer any useful input on a bid she was writing for a grant from Lloyds Bank Foundation’s Enable fund to look at her organisation’s long-term sustainability. We worked together to develop a strong bid and I am delighted to say that in July 2015 GL Communities secured the Lloyds grant.

Here’s what Sue had to say about my work:

“Catherine is extremely good at getting to know an organisation and understanding its needs. Through her communication skills she is able to re-profile a bid to make it stronger and ensure the meaning of the words define the organisation at its best.”

Congratulations to Sue and her team. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the sustainability work and to watching GL Communities continue to thrive and meet the needs of the communities in which it works.

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