The working relationship of the partnership will need to be developed and defined as part of the outline project plan.  For most partnerships, this is an important step of the process as it will help define what each party plans to contribute and the parameters for working together.  It is worth establishing some terms of reference and even a legal arrangement between the community group and the church as soon as possible.  Please contact TMCP to help with this.  It prevents later problems arising that could affect the project.  It would be a useful exercise to think through the involvement and role of the:

  • Individuals or groups who will be performing the work
  • Individuals or groups who would be affected by the work
  • Owners, funders and customers
  • Statutory and regulatory bodies (TMCP, Circuit, District, etc)

Let’s look at the example of Allenton Church in Derby.  The individuals and groups who performed the work included builders, contractors as well as those participating in a local apprenticeship scheme.  The congregation would be affected by the work.  The owners would be the managing trustees, the funders included Big Local, Derby Homes to name a few and the customers were the community.  The statutory and regulatory bodies would include the local council, TMCP and HSE.  Another great example of how partnerships can work is the Poole Methodist Church.  Click here to read more. 

Consideration must also be given to how you will share the space in your church with another group or organisation.  For more information, please contact TMCP or refer to the pages on Letting Property and Third Party Use or  Developments and Works.

For larger partnership or partnerships with housing associations, a QSR and Marketing Strategy may be needed as part of working out if this option is workable.  Please contact TMCP to discuss this further. 

When the aim of a partnership is to solve a community need, most funders will want you to demonstrate that your project will solve the problem as well as have a system for reporting once the building is in use.  You will need to introduce a system that allows you to continue consulting the community about its needs in the future.

You will to consider how you will regularly review whether and how you are achieving your aims after the launch. Projects and activities may need to change over time as they adapt to changing circumstances, such as new competing facilities or changes in the population, which may no longer correspond to your initial community research. Changes can bring both opportunities and challenges and it would be good to capture these as part of the draft business plan. 

An example would be that a school which has been using your church closes, or another local facility providing a meeting space is forced to close. If your project enables a crèche to operate for a couple of mornings a week, that’s great for local mothers and babies. But in a few years’ time, (while hopefully, new mothers and babies will now be using the crèche facilities), what will you need to do to for those original babies who are now a few years older and need nursery places or after school clubs? What steps are you taking to ensure that you include the views and wishes of everyone in the community? How are you trying to reach out to disadvantaged groups in your area?

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