Bright Ideas programme helps library achieve three year funding stream

The Archibald Corbett Community Library, Arts and Heritage Centre (ACCLAHC), is now a financially sustainable Community Centre for the Corbett Estate and surrounding areas thanks to the Bright Ideas programme.

With a population of over 20,000, ACCLAHC provides its community with a wide range of free activities, events and services from its Library and Performing Arts, Exhibition and Heritage Centre.

Saving Torridon Road Library

Formed in 2016 by local residents, ACCLAHC’s main aim was to take over the management of the Grade II listed Torridon Road Library. They wanted to save it from being closed down by Lewisham Council.

After successfully saving the library and it’s buildings, ACCLAHC traded successfully for its first two years, relying solely on the input of volunteers. However, a dependence on volunteers alone isn’t sustainable for the future, what if there was a drop off in volunteers, how could it open without staff?

To address the risk, the organisation needed funding to employ staff for up to 55 hours per week. This would maintain their opening hours, and staff could manage the Library and Community Centre with the help of volunteers daily. New income opportunities were also needed to make sure there was enough money to keep staff on when the funding ended.

Creating a business plan for future sustainability

ACCLAHC received funding from Bright Ideas to create a five-year business plan. As part of the business plan, they were helped to create an activity and engagement plan that set out income goals to help increase their revenue.

An income and expenditure forecast based on the business plan shows surpluses being created of £13,000, £18,000, and £25,000 in the first three years which, if achieved, will ensure continuous staff employment after the three year funding period.

Securing the funding

These plans formed ACCLAHC’s application to the National Lottery Community Fund (previously Big Lottery Fund) for revenue funding to employ the required staff over a period of three years. This would stop the risk of having to rely solely on volunteers.

The funding bid was successful, and ACCLAHC was awarded £210,000 revenue funding over three years. The funding has allowed the organisation to employ a project development team. By following the business plan, they will identify new income streams to strengthen the sustainability of the centre while maintaining its ongoing operation.