Business Plan



 Registered Charity No 269793


 2016– 2020


 Executive Summary

  1. ECA’s Response to the Changing Profile of the Emsworth Community
  2. Mission Statement
  3. Vision
  4. Values
  5. Aims and Strategies
  6. Trustees, Staff, Members, Volunteers and Affiliated Organisations
  7. Management Overview
  8. Financial Summary
  9. Budget and Projections
  10. Future Plans

Appendix 1: Succession Planning

Appendix 2: Development of the Community Centre

Appendix 3: Local Organisations which are working closely with ECA

Appendix 4: ECA Reserves Policy




Since it started in 1975, the Emsworth Community Centre (ECC), which is run by the Emsworth Community Association (ECA) has become a focal point in the town, bringing the community together in over 60 activities each week.  With eight rooms available for hire, as well as activities such as film shows, table tennis and social events organised by the ECA itself, the Centre is very well used.  The Trustees have a special focus on working with young families and with the elderly.


In 2014 ECA was awarded a grant of £100,000 by Hampshire County Council (HCC) towards the cost of upgrading the premises.  In 2016 the terms were changed so that the Trustees can now use the grant to make necessary repairs to the fabric of the building.  The Old School building dates back to the 1860’s and is suffering from damp in the walls and possibly rot of various types beneath the floorboards.  Part of this grant will therefore be spent on improving the drainage and the ventilation beneath the floorboards, as well as replacing any rotting wood.  The balance will be mainly used to provide a new single main entrance so that the Old School building, the Lumley Room and the Mountford extension will be seamlessly joined together.

Through Community Asset Transfer, HCC, to whom ECA currently pays rent of £6000 p.a., could transfer ownership of the premises to ECA at no cost, and this is under consideration by the ECA trustees. 


ECA has a record of financial stability.   It has maintained a steady income through building and maintaining good relations with a large number of regular hirers.  The management team continues to maintain a robust reserves policy. The trustees and staff are pro-active in seeking ways to reduce costs and increase income to continue maintenance of the building and improvement of facilities.   They are also actively seeking funding from external sources as well as fund raising locally to enable the premises upgrade.


Emsworth Community Association serves a rapidly growing community of over 10,000 in the Borough of Havant.   The Emsworth Profile 2011 shows that 20% of the residents are under 20 and 35% are over 60 years of age.  The profile concludes that ‘Emsworth has a lot of families with children’. 11% of the population live in social rented accommodation and 23% have no educational qualification.  Although Emsworth has a low index of multiple deprivation, ‘many residents may be counted as deprived in one or more dimension’.  It is with these residents that ECA now seeks to engage more fully.

ECA has a long history of successful development.  It has grown steadily since it started in 1975 with eight founding groups and with a mission to improve the well being of the local residents by providing education, leisure and recreation for all.  Currently, in an average week, over 1000 people take part in its many and varied activities.


Our mission is to promote the health and well-being of all residents of Emsworth and neighbouring areas by providing education, recreation, and social activities in premises which are both comfortable and accessible to all.


Striving to provide good facilities which enable every person in Emsworth to gain information and skills and to engage in great community activities.


  • We will treat people with dignity and respect regardless of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age.  At all times, people’s feelings will be valued and respected.
  • We value the contribution made by members, volunteers, staff, trustees, statutory and VCS partners.  We will use their time and resources responsibly and efficiently.
  • We value the trust invested in the Council of Management and will sustain that trust by operating in an open and responsible manner.
  • We will seek to reduce the carbon footprint of our premises and services. The Centre will use fairly traded, ecologically acceptable and locally sourced products and services wherever possible.


Through a process of self-review, discussion with statutory bodies, local organisations and residents, we have identified the following aims and strategies in pursuit of our mission, vision and values:

1. Financial Management

a. To maintain financial stability through an appropriate balance of income from hiring, social events and activities, fund raising, grants and donations

For detail, see sections 9b: Future Income and Expenditure and 11.1: Future Plans – Financial Management 

2. Working with Others

a. To work with other community providers on appropriate projects, linking our skills and facilities

b. To work with statutory authorities to help deliver core objectives, particularly the health and wellbeing of all local residents

3. Quality

a.  Emsworth Community Centre has been rated as “outstanding” in a recent audit by Visible Communities, the independent organisation which evaluated and monitored quality systems and standards for the charity and community sector.

b. To achieve greater effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility through recruitment of additional volunteers and increased training for trustees, staff and volunteers

c. To identify the skills and experience needed in new trustees and volunteers through creating and undertaking a skills audit 

4. Education, Recreation and Leisure

a. To maintain and extend the range of social events and activities to all sections of the community, with special emphasis on those who are elderly, vulnerable or socially isolated

b. To maintain and extend the range of educational courses offered at the centre

c. To provide life skills and work experience for young people and adults with learning difficulties

5. Premises

a. To maintain the premises in good condition

b. To upgrade the premises, providing inclusive access, an environment which is warm, friendly and safe and a modern kitchen

c. To consider taking on ownership of the land and buildings through community asset transfer from Hampshire County Council

d. To increase sustainability by lessening the environmental impact of the buildings and services 


a. Trustees

At the AGM in July 2016, seven Trustees retired and sixteen Trustees were elected by the members to the Council of Management (CoM). including three officers – Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.  Trustees meet monthly and at each CoM meeting review the financial performance against the budget. Subcommittees dealing with social events, buildings maintenance, publicity, finance and fund raising look after their respective areas and report back to the CoM who have overall responsibility.  The work of the Council of Management is governed by the Association’s constitution which was revised in 2010.   

b. Staff

The Association currently employs five part time staff:

  • Administrator – 20 hours per week in term time (i.e. 40 weeks per year)
  • Administrator for Centre Development  – 16 hours per week in term time
  • Caretaker – 9 hours per week
  • Two cleaners – 1) 15 hours per week    2) 12.5 hours per week

c. Members

The Association currently has around 700 members, Membership currently costs £5 per year which makes it affordable for everyone and provides ECA with an annual income of over £3000.  Members receive regular information updates by email or leaflet.   A free annual social evening is held for members who pay a reduced rate for other social events and for booking private functions.

d. Volunteers

The Association currently has over 40 volunteers who carry out a range of jobs including helping with social events, distributing publicity and maintaining the premises.

The trustees are fortunate to have access to professional advice on legal matters, computer systems, finance, buildings surveying and human resources from members who volunteer their services. 

e. Affiliated Organisations

Local voluntary groups may affiliate to ECA enabling us to support each others’ work.   Affiliation enables ECA to bring VCS organisations together for discussion of topics of common concern and it permits the affiliated organisations to use the ECA’s services at reduced cost.   The affiliation fee is £50 and we have currently four affiliated organisations. 



  • Long, successful history
  • Centre well used and valued by community
  • Reliable income stream
  • Committed, hard working trustees, volunteers & staff
  • Good, well used website & publicity
  • Supportive local councillors
  • Advice available from HCC and HBC
  • Professional advice available from members
  • Good local partner organisations (ERA, EBA)
  • Success in applying for grants



  • The main entrance is hard to find and difficult to use
  • The reception area is unwelcoming
  • The premises are not ideal for disabled people
  • The buildings do not allow flow of people
  • Extension of jobs and further training for volunteers is needed
  • Poor ventilation in present office and in the Mountford wing
  • Difficulty in obtaining grants as Emsworth is not considered a deprived area.
  • External doors are usually left open throughout the day, even in winter, resulting in loss of heat and high heating bills.


  • Upgrade of building in 2016-2017
  • Introduction of CAB and other advisory services
  • Use of large garden likely to become available
  • Good training available
  • Increased working with local organisations
  • Increase in carbon efficiency through improved buildings



  • Reduction in grants available from HCC
  • Potential loss of experienced trustees
  • Potential loss of hirers
  • Possible need to budget for payment of staff pensions in the future
  • Difficulty in attracting younger volunteers due to increased economic pressures
  • Many local organisations seeking volunteers

As mentioned in the Executive Summary above, the ECA is using part of the grant of £100,00 from HCC to provide of a new main entrance door. This will open directly on to the Mountford corridor which will connect to the existing reception area by removing the intervening Gents toilet.  The new door will open and shut automatically. The Trustees are also currently investigating the best way to provide natural light and ventilation in the Mountford Rooms, and have included a budget for necessary improvements in the current financial year.  These improvements should considerably reduce the number and severity of weaknesses relating to our buildings in the table above.

ECA Business Plan 2016 to 2020- 9 Financial Summary

ECA business plan 2016 - 2020 - 10 Budget and Projections



For the long term objectives of the ECA to be delivered, succession planning needs to be built into ECA’s culture, systems, processes and structure.  Effective succession planning can be implemented in a way that will add value on a daily basis and mitigate strategic risks to the delivery of the business plan.

Areas that need to be addressed in the near future:

1. Clarity re roles, responsibilities and delivery objectivesof trustees, volunteers and employees.

Much work has already been done, but additional outputs that would add value, include:

  1. A fuller description of what individuals cover within their role, their objectives and access to key documents and contacts
  1. For key roles it is important that there is backup to cover for holidays and emergencies. A list of the primary and secondary contacts for each area of ECA’s work should be provided

2. Access to vital information

This is becoming more important as the organisation develops and grows. The organisation is developing a shared, secure and transparent system, accessible to trustees, volunteers and staff. The following steps are being implemented:

  1. In the short term all documents and databases have a back-up copy stored securely in the office. Trustees and volunteers can choose to email a copy of their documents into the office or back-up regularly to a memory stick to be stored in the office. Administrators monitor the back-ups/copies to ensure currency. Office-based work will continue to be backed-up weekly and stored securely off site.
  2. All key documents for pre-VISIBLE are loaded online with a centralised shared ID for trustees, volunteers and staff to access online.

3. Development of Trustees, Staff and Volunteers

This is an essential part of succession planning which will be achieved through the following initiatives:

  1. Auditing Skills (already done by the Trustees): to capitalise on existing experience and knowledge, to identify gaps and plan how to manage them.  Expertise from outside ECA can be brought in to help advise on specific aspects and may fill trustee gaps in the future.
  2. Enhanced Induction and Training: to ensure that all trustees, staff and volunteers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to perform their role safely, within the law and to best practice.
  3. Developing the Volunteer Base: to nurture and develop individuals and talents for the future.  This continual process of development will ensure that when key positions on the Council of Management arise, more volunteers will be capable of stepping up to the challenge and will provide a natural succession.

Appendix 2: Development of the Community Centre

 Since 1975, ECA has been based in premises at the heart of Emsworth, in a Victorian building which used to be the local Church of England primary school.  Ownership of the land and building passed to Hampshire County Council which continues at present to be ECA’s landlord.  However, HCC has offered to transfer ownership of the property to ECA within the next few years.

With an increasing number and range of activities, ECA soon outgrew the old school building.  After raising the necessary finance, the Lumley Room was added in 1987.  Around this time, the school playground was linked to a main road and became a car park.   It was clear that still more space was needed so the Mountford wing, comprising one large hall which can be divided together with another room, was added in 2004.  These newer additions are already the property of ECA.

In 2014, ECA was successful in achieving an award of £100,000 from HCC to upgrade the buildings.  The improvements will increase sustainability and make the premises comfortable and accessible to all.         

ECA business plan 2016 - 2020 - Appendix 3

Appendix 4: ECA Reserves Policy 


1. The Need for a Reserves Policy

Reserves are that part of the Association’s unrestricted funds which are freely available to spend as required.  The trustees of Emsworth Community Association (ECA) have adopted this reserves policy in order to maintain financial security in the event of unforeseen difficulties such as:

  • An unforeseen emergency e.g. a repair bill or urgent project
  • Fluctuations in levels of income and expenditure
  • Unforeseen operational costs e.g. need to employ temporary staff due to long term sickness
  • Planned commitments which cannot be met by future income alone
  • Funding short-term deficits in the cash flow e.g. the need to spend money in advance of receiving a grant

ECA business plan 2016 - 2020 - 2 Reserves Needed

3. Justification

ECA has two risk factors that suggest that we need to adopt a more cautious policy than many other organisations:

  1. We will continue to have a full maintenance and repairing lease on the Victorian school building (1863) for the next few years, until the premises are transferred to ECA ownership.  And after that time, we will still be fully responsible for repair and maintenance of all the premises.

We are aware of ongoing maintenance problems that urgently need fixing, for example much of the Victorian brickwork needs re-pointing and also areas where rising damp is evident. The ECA has not been putting money aside specifically to replace life-expired assets, as this has always been manageable within existing funds.  We have recently carried out an exercise to evaluate the reserves we would need to create in order to meet this future liability.  It is estimated that at least £13,000 needs to be  spent for urgent repairs which if necessary can be met from our contingency funds.

  1. If our main hirer were to leave, ECA would lose around 20% of its regular hiring income. This is considered very unlikely but must be allowed as a possibility.

For these two reasons, the Trustees have agreed that our reserves should remain above £40,000.

This policy was adopted on 18th November 2015

Signed    ……………………………………………………

Michael Stott, Chairman

Review Date:  November 2016