OUR SERVICES

Project Design


At Green Strand we call project-planning design. By design we mean a process that involves envisaging an outcome and then working out how to bring it about. This can mean designing spaces in the built environment, designing processes, services or products. In practice, for example, this could mean helping people who want to improve a park or children’s playground get the best out of landscape architects and the resources available, or it could mean developing a campaign to get a local authority policy changed, or, for example, how to go about planning every aspect of a service to provide transport for otherwise housebound people. We can help design projects so that they are more attractive to potential funders than they otherwise might be, or so that they secure a range of outcomes beyond the immediate: helping, for example, contribute to broader strategic aims.

Strategy


Where do you want to be in five years time, or ten? How do you get beyond day-to-day concerns and balancing the books this year? How can short-term planning, current practice and policies contribute to securing longer-term aims and objectives?
While the immediate and obvious outcome of our work is normally helping clients develop stand-alone, time limited projects and secure funding for them, we prefer to work strategically and ensure that the one-off projects are part of a bigger picture. That’s why we now have long-term relations with many of our clients.

Asset transfer


Can people who use spaces and facilities get to own and control them? Can this be done without spending vast amounts of money? Can parks, allotments, children’s playgrounds and playing fields and facilities like libraries be made safe from closure and sale to commercial developers? The answer is yes, sometimes, through a process called asset transfer. Most commonly this takes the form of land and buildings passing from public authorities to Trusts or community interest companies owned and controlled by the people who need and use the facilities. We can tell you how it’s done.

Evaluation


Sometimes it’s vital for those who provide services, run projects and campaigns to be able to measure and demonstrate the difference it makes to people’s lives and life chances. Evaluation is a process to do this. It is often an essential tool to be used when working to sustain services and secure funding. Often it’s best to build-in on-going evaluation into the budgets of grant applications. Our evaluations normally run along side the delivery of projects to help keen them on course and ensure successful outcomes.

Research


Independent research can provide the evidence you need to persuade funders. Research can help identify need and demonstrate if particular interventions are likely to work.

Training


Green Strand can provide bespoke, affordable, training in every aspect of third sector development and service delivery. None of our training is “off the shelf”. It is always developed carefully with the client to focus on specific needs. Training in the skills required to ensure sustainability is our speciality. We can also help local authorities bring about the best possible outcomes from engagement with the voluntary, community and third sector.

Partnerships


Two or more organisations working together can sometimes achieve far more than one organisation working on its own: the sum being greater than the parts. But the pitfalls are many and often unanticipated. Seeking advice before committing can pay big dividends. Green Strand consultants have seen dozens of partnership including ones that thrived and others that did far less well. Sometimes having an external party help plan can make a big difference. An initial consultation over planning for a proposed partnership is free from Green Strand.

Mergers


Merging organisations can create opportunities for improving a range of outcomes but there are multiple routes/ways of merging, each with pros and cons, and speaking to people with direct experience of them is absolutely essential. As with proposed partnership projects, an initial conversation with a Green Strand consultant is free. Normally the outcome of this is to refer to local support services that can help at no costs to the organisations involved, but sometimes buying-in help right at the start of the process can bring greatly enhanced results and avoid pitfalls.

Social enterprise and business planning


The term social enterprise has no precise meaning or definition in UK law. However it normally means providing goods or services for payment where the main motive is not private profit. Social enterprises are normally businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.

Green Strand can provide the advice needed or help clients find the specialist services they need. Our speciality is helping organisations that have historically relied on grants, to supplement their income by developing trading activities. However, we have also helped the reverse process – helping social enterprises secure grants.

Business plans is a term used very loosely in the voluntary and community sector and these are too often a descriptive document rather than a tool for managing finances or helping to make financially focused decisions. Unusually for voluntary sector specialist, consultants Green Strand have some hard-edged business experience and know how to integrate this into work to secure broader social aims.

If you’d like to know more about any of our services please email us using steve.macarthur@btinternet.com


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