Friday, 21 August 2009

Eating an elephant

Our fundraising team say it is 'do-able' to raise £350,000, you break it down into managable chunks - maybe one large donation of perhaps £50k, three or four of £30k each, a few more of £20k and so on. They say success will breed success so the key is to get a couple of big amounts first then you can ask others to follow the trend. The hard work is researching who to ask - trust funds, companies, wealthy individuals and to have several options for each 'ask'. This will take time.

The Board met for their quarterly meeting on Wednesday, there was a lot on the agenda but this was an important item. Naturally they are worried about the financial commitment - will it be worth investing such a lot of money in one building? Actually it's an investment in the young people of west Newcastle. We know they have valued and used the service for the last 10 years during which time the building has become very tatty, a renovated building will say to young people 'You are important.' Having bought the building and needing it to run the service, it's hard to see an alternative to renovating it now.

The Board agreed to our proposal to set up an Appeals Team which will include one of them. They also recognise they each one of them has an obligation to get people they know interested in this appeal and in our other work too. The fundraising team are excited to have a project to work on with a fundraising target.

So how do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

A mountain to climb

Exciting meeting with our good friends at _space yesterday afternoon. The _space Architecture and Management organisation have kindly given us their services to manage the renovation of our West End Youth Enquiry Service (WEYES) building. At last we have verbal planning permission so now _space can start drawing up tender lists and invite interest from construction firms. We won't know an exact price until those bids come back at the end of September but _space estimate it will cost about £350,000 if one firm were to do everything to the best standard and take about 16 weeks work.

The price is a bit of a shock, we have £100,000 for the project so far. The discussion moves on to how to manage the cost. Companies may be willing to sponsor a room or undertake a piece of the work like all the floor coverings or the heating system. We have already had generous offers from other companies of a day's work. We could stipulate materials are purchased from local suppliers in return for a discount. And it may be possible to obtain some grants too such as the Carbon Trust for things that will make the completed building more environmentally friendly. Of course we will acknowledge the support of everyone who helps.

We are very fortunate that actors Tim Healy and Denise Welch have agreed to be celebrity patrons of Children North East and in particular want to support the campaign to raise money for the WEYES renovation. We are hopeful that other people and groups will help us too. At present the WEYES project is in temporary accommodation which is not ideal, the sooner they are back in their former, but newly renovated building the better. So the task is clear - to raise £250,000 in as short a time as possible.