Trading and Enterprise – Live blog

Here is where you’ll find the trading and enterprise live blog. With a particular focus on how cross-sector relationships can help you to generate income and achieve your missions through selling products and services.

more BIS info –

Nov 28 – 12.45 – Steve Lawson

over to Veronique Jochum…

Civil Society and the consumer market – 10 types of involvement:

  • Research and development
  • affinity partnerships
  • information, advice and support
  • campaigning
  • testing and evaluation
  • other partnerships
  • awareness and education
  • advocacy and representation
  • accreditation and endorsements
  • direct provision and supply


Nov 28 – 12.37 – Steve Lawson

“Social policy is being moved over to the energy companies. They’re collecting money to make homes fuel efficient, but also being asked to deal with fuel poverty, but aren’t doing a good job of it. 50 mill was left in the warm front payment, and went back into the treasury. The energy cos missed their targets by 60%. There’s a disconnect between what the vol sector are doing and what they know, and what the energy cos are being paid to do.

“so, how far can the vol sector get involved in the marketplace, and provide goods and services?”

Nov 28 – 12.29 – Steve Lawson

3 questions – could civil society do more to put those consumers that are currently vulnerable is a more powerful position? Could they be better informed, to know what’s actually going on? Seems a lot of vol. orgs. shy away from that kind of activity.

Nov 28 – 12.26 – Steve Lawson

Department for Business Innovation and Skills report on vulnerable consumers –


Nov 28 – 12.24 – Steve Lawson

Jonathan – ‘consumer focus’ roll is to regulate the regulators. To pay attention to vulnerable consumers. I’ve been trying to talk about “consumers in vulnerable positions” instead of “vulnerable consumers”. Then you start to look at the position people are in in the market place, so you can then acknowledge that, for example, not all older people are in a vulnerable position’

Nov 28 – 12.22 – Steve Lawson

next session!

Trade offs? Achieving your mission in the consumer market.

Olof Williams introducing Jonathan from Consumer Focus –
And Veronique from NCVO’s policy research dept.

Nov 28 – 12.21 – Steve Lawson

The Future:

  • Growing current market & creating new ones
  • Offer diverse packages to suit all occasions
  • Include & nuture the local community
  • Keeping the Centre dynamic & relevant
  • Our new ‘landlord’ role & relationship with VCS
Nov 28 – 12.06 – Steve Lawson

“We use volunteers to staff our front of house, and that’s proved really successful at engaging local people, and at helping those who are looking to re-enter the workplace. 30% of those volunteers have gone on to find full time work. Through the volunteer bureau we provide NVQ training.”

Nov 28 – 12.00 – Steve Lawson

Lessons Learnt

  • building spec – never perfect, hindsight…
  • facilities management is time-consuming
  • maintaining a community spirit is key
  • volunteers can be a huge asset
  • creating ‘ownership’ by the local community
  • CVS as landlord – necessity to be firm
Nov 28 – 11.56 – Steve Lawson

Here’s The Ripple Centre website for more info .

Nov 28 – 11.54 – Steve Lawson


  • competed fit-out and enhanced space
  • established a thriving weekend market
  • hosted the london ambassadors
  • 90% of services office rented
  • all tenants have seen increased footfall


Nov 28 – 11.54 – Steve Lawson

next week we’re doing a poverty advice session with the CAB, and we can afford to do that for free because of the way we manage the rest of our funding.

Nov 28 – 11.51 – Steve Lawson

Immediate Benefits

  • New & Improved Services
  • Wider geographical reach
  • access to new beneficiary groups
  • new skills and expertise
  • stronger, united voice
  • more integrated or coordinated approach
Nov 28 – 11.49 – Steve Lawson

we work with the other community halls in the area, and recommend them when we’re over capacity or where they are a better fit, and vice versa. We work with those who are seen as our competitors.

Nov 28 – 11.47 – Steve Lawson

40% of income is from office space and 60% from hired space.

Nov 28 – 11.44 – Steve Lawson

‘How We Developed The Market’

  • bold with pricing
  • sent clear ‘quality’ message to the market
  • consistent and transparent pricing
  • market aggressively and unapologetically
  • mixed use – community & private
  • invest in the spaces on offer
Nov 28 – 11.39 – Steve Lawson

do those points resonate?

“yes, especially the practical challenges”

“with your practical challenges – how many full time staff do you have to pay out of your budget?” (answer – ‘I run the building, FOH manager, 2 caretakers/cleaners… 5 full time people)

Nov 28 – 11.36 – Steve Lawson

can assets earn you income?

3 key considerations:

  • cultural change
  • reputational risk
  • practical challenges

apart from the obvious ones…

Nov 28 – 11.35 – Steve Lawson

we created 3 floors of office space for 10 orgs

hot desk space for 30 start-ups

large hall with pro stage (featuring panto now! :) )

2 flexible meeting rooms

lound areas for relaxation and networking

Nov 28 – 11.31 – Steve Lawson

in 07/08 the Ripple community hall was run down. Was built on the site of a bombed out church in the 50s. Instead of rebuilding the church, they built a community hall. Was run by volunteers and core orgs using it.

in 2008, the council wanted to transfer those assets. The asset transfer deal, managed by Big Lottery Fund, offered money to make that transfer possible. CVS bid for it, and were given 3 million pounds to turn it into something much bigger and more dynamic?

what did 3 mill buy us? a mill from Big Lottery, a mill from London Dev Agency, a mill from Council( some of ‘in kind’)

Nov 28 – 11.30 – Steve Lawson

- “I need to tap into local communities to make money to support our local Citizens Advice Bureau”

Nov 28 – 11.28 – Steve Lawson

Graham Collins: asking what are the 2 or 3 key things that people want from this workshop.

- “I work with small groups in village halls in rural areas, and want to know about income streams”

- “we’ve been offered community access to a Local Authority Youth Club in Lincolnshire, and want to make it sustainable”

Nov 28 – 11.27 – Steve Lawson

This session is – Making Ripples: earning from community assets
Hear how Barking and Dagenham CVS have completely redeveloped and marketed the Ripple Centre to create a dynamic community hub to generate income and serve a diverse audience. Discuss the effect on organisational culture, reputational and practical challenges of using an asset (in this case property) for on-mission trading.

Chair: Lee Robinson, Sustainable Funding Officer, NCVO
Graham Collins, Community Development Manager at Barking and Dagenham CVS

Who is this session for?
Organisations who are using or planning to use an asset – such as community buildings, leisure facilities or local heritage – to serve their local community and earn sustainable income.

Nov 28 – 11.25 – Steve Lawson
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