Community Housing Cymru
Building Enterprise is a project led by Community Housing Cymru, which is the representative body for Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) across Wales. The aim of Building Enterprise is to support the local economy, individuals and enterprises to lock the Welsh pound into Welsh communities. The project supports social enterprises and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) to partner and encourage new business models that will create an anchor wealth in disadvantaged communities. Perform Green was selected to be on the Building Enterprise Framework in September 2013 with engagement starting in June 2014. To date, we have supported a number of housing associations that have been exploring new business models.
Perform Green have supported Coastal Housing with two projects
This is a building that housed a former supermarket and is somewhat iconic within the environs of Swansea High Street. Coastal acquired the building in 2013 and wanted to utilise it in a way that:
• Fit with their organisational values
• Contributed to the regeneration of Swansea High Street and its creative identity and;
• As a minimum covered its costs
A local theatre group was using the ground floor and the top floor was used to provide local artists with workspace.
Perform Green were engaged to workwith Coastal to develop business ideas that could lead to the utilisation of th 1st floor of the Iceland building, made up of 10,000 square foot of space. Additionally, in order to be progressed, any ideas had to contribute to the regeneration of the High Street whilst providing social purpose to the community.
Perform Green designed and facilitated joint planning sessions with Coastal Housing setting out clearly how the two organisations work best together, how we communicate, setting goals and setting expectations for the engagement. We supported development of a business idea (training facility) and the working up of various options that were presented to Coastal’s senior management team. A preferred option was worked up and a business model produced together with a developing business plan, owned by Coastal.
We identified and engaged with stakeholders of the Iceland building – holding two events that clearly positioned Coastal as the organisation that could be the catalyst for the regeneration of the High Street through their commitment through the Iceland building. This was achieved through skilful facilitation ensuring that Coastal was positioned correctly as a strong ‘team’ member of the High Street business community rather than an ‘owner’.
Through Perform Greens involvement, Coastal now have a viable business opportunity together with a business model and business plan. They are well positioned to achieve their objectives around changing the High Street identity and, most importantly, have the capability within their organisation to identify, evaluate and execute business opportunities in the future.
Ynys Lee is a housing estate on the outskirts of Swansea, that Coastal Housing own. Its reputation has been transformed from a place where nobody wanted to be housed to one where tenants are content to live. The ambition is to build on this reputational improvement and become a place where people are proud to live.
Perform Green was commissioned to support the creation of a business plan where a hostel, café and shop were created in a vacant block of flats. The idea is to utilise the stunning surrounding landscape to target adventure tourists, primarily mountain bikers, and become a destination in its own right. The tenants would benefit from the provision of the businesses on the estate through training and employment opportunities as well as other social benefits the initiative will bring.
Perform Green designed and facilitated joint planning sessions with Coastal Housing setting out clearly how the two organisations work best together, how we communicate, setting goals and setting expectations for the engagement. We then worked with the Coastal team to drive clarity of thinking around the business idea, putting a process in place for the goals to be realised. We worked with Coastal to develop a business model and a detailed business plan that provides the basis of any business case for capital expenditure funding requirements.
Through Perform Green’s involvement, Coastal was able to develop a robust business plan that was based on a defined business model. We also provided them with an exit strategy for the business to spin out as its own legal entity together with a recommendation for the type of Social Enterprise the business could become.
Perform Green have supported Rhondda Housing Association (RHA):
RHA had a food initiative that they felt could become a business in its own right. It consisted of getting excess food from supermarkets via a third party, repackaging this stock of food into separate boxes and selling them to their tenants. The charge was £5 per box and, if the tenant buying the box was in arrears with their rent, £10 (£5 of this automatically went to reduce their arrears).
Initially, Perform Green was commissioned to evaluate RHA’s business idea, and their plan and feedback on whether, in our view, the business was viable in its current state. We concluded that the business idea was a good one but that a new business plan was needed that demonstrated resilience in areas such as supply chain and costs. Subsequently, we were commissioned to work with RHA to develop a business model, a robust business plan and an exit strategy for the stand-alone business once it was developed.
Perform Green designed and facilitated a joint planning day with RHA setting out clearly how the two organisations work best together, how we communicate, setting goals and setting expectations for the engagement. We worked with RHA developing a business model and business plan, ensuring that we transferred knowledge throughout to ensure that, when we left, RHA had improved capability to evaluate business opportunities and create robust business plans for future opportunities.
Through Perform Green’s involvement, RHA was able to develop a robust business plan that was based on a defined business model. We also provided them with an exit strategy for the business to spin out as its own legal entity together with a recommendation for the type of Social Enterprise the business could become.
Additional Support Underway:
Perform Green are currently supporting the following Housing Associations in their endeavours under the Building Enterprise Framework:
Merthyr Valley Homes:
We are supporting MVH with the creation of a business plan that will support their Digital Merthyr initiative – they are rolling out Wi-Fi access to their 6300 properties.
Cynon Taff Community Housing Group:
We are supporting CTCHG in the creation of a food box scheme, called Project 43. We will be developing a business plan that will include a volunteering strategy to maximise the chances of success. We are also supporting them to create a Lunch Club enterprise. The support will be the creation of a business plan.