Developing a Business Plan for Community Asset Transfer
Does your club need to prepare a business plan for a Community Asset Transfer? Don’t put pen to paper until you have read this! We will take you through everything you need to know.
Why do we need a business plan?
Developing a viable business plan is an essential part of securing an asset under Community Asset Transfer (CAT). It is required by Local Authorities as evidence that the facility will be used for the benefit of the community and that the organisation taking on the asset has the capability and resources to run it.
Business plans come in different shapes and sizes and most Local Authorities will spell out what is required when assessing CAT applications. They might even provide a template.
There is more information on developing a more general business plan here. The information on this page highlights the specific elements that are usually required in a CAT business plan.
About the organisation
The first part of the business plan provides information about the organisation that will be taking over the asset. It needs to demonstrate that it is well governed.
Purpose of the organisation - Hopefully you have already done this. If not, don’t worry, but it is important you do it now. Everyone needs to clear about the organisation’s purpose and key high-level objectives. To do this, you can get some help here.
Type of organisation – In this section, you will need to provide details about the type of organisation that will acquire the asset – you will need to provide information about its constitution, governance documents or set of rules.
Management and governance structures – How will the club manage the ongoing operations of the club? Where will the lines of responsibility lie? Will you have sub-committees? For more information click
Workforce – You will need to set out your workforce plan to show how the club intends to manage and deliver its activities? You will need to include brief details on the number and roles involved on the management committee as well as employed staff and volunteers. Evidence of individuals’ competency and experience is usually required to demonstrate that the club has the capacity and knowledge to successfully operate the asset. For more information click
Take a look at Managing your Club for information on a wide range of issues including safeguarding policies and risk management.
Grounds Maintenance Options
Are outdoor sports pitches part of the transfer deal? If so, you will need to think about the maintenance of these facilities and your plans will need to be detailed in the CAT business plan.
Different types of facilities will require different maintenance regimes so speak to your for sport specific requirements. For more information on grounds and pitch maintenance click here.
The different options available for the maintenance of grounds and pitches include:
- Securing the services of a contractor to maintain the facilities. This could be buying back the services of the Local Authority or using a private company.
- Employing a paid employee, a groundsperson, on a full or part time basis to maintain the facilities on behalf of the club.
- Training up and use volunteers to undertake the work.
- Adopting a combination of these different approaches as it may be beneficial to split the maintenance contracts. For example, a football club may use a contractor to maintain the general areas of the site such as hedges but the sport pitches themselves may be best maintained by club volunteers.
Always consider the pros and cons of each option before making a decision. Remember to think about:
- the quality of the pitches
- technical expertise
- training needed for volunteers
- resources – both time and costs
The business plan should detail any facility improvements that are required as well as the strategy for securing required investment.
Make sure you include any immediate remediation or repairs that are necessary as well as any additional facilities / improvements needed to deliver the business plan.
The purpose of these alterations may be to improve the experience for users, ensure the facilities comply with sports best practice guidance and/or to facilitate new or expanded activities. The costs of the works should be included.
The investment strategy should outline how the club intends to deliver these improvements – whether it is from club funds, private finance, fundraising or the securing of grants. For more information on developing a capital investment plan please click here.
Activities and Benefits
The club will need to explain its core activities and what benefits the services will provide to the community. It’s worth demonstrating how these align to council priorities.
The club’s sport development plan is a good place to start. For more information on how to produce a development plan, click here.
Do not forget to include non-sporting activities. Consideration should be given to the community services it provides such as the provision of a communal space for other community groups.
Remember to include details of any partners that have been identified who will support the organisation in the delivery of its activities.
Cash Flow Forecast
Producing a cash flow forecast is a key part of any business plan. Each Local Authority will specify their specific requirements including the period it needs to cover, commonly five years. Club Solutions has additional guidance on managing your club’s finances including the production of a cash flow forecast, for more information click here.
Cash flow forecasts should be based on evidence where possible to ensure it is a fair reflection of the anticipated income and expenditure. A good starting point is the current costs and operating income for the facility if it is currently in use.
Generally, clubs tend to underestimate cost and overestimate income. Therefore, take a cautious approach and consider different scenarios, assessing the impact these may have on your business plan.
To assist in the development of the cash flow forecast consider some of the following opportunities to reduce expenditure and increase income.
- New activities – If there is the space and the facilities, consider introducing a new sporting activity to the site. Most outdoor sports are seasonal and therefore there are periods when the facilities are not used and could be used for another activity.
- Expand existing activities – perhaps you could create a new junior section, establish more teams or increase the capacity of sessions.
- – Consider new and different ways to fundraise to support general income or for a specific project. There are plenty of ideas here (http://www.clubsolutions.wales/case-studies/12-promotional-event-ideas/)
- Increase fees and subscriptions – this is an option but balance it carefully against the need to retain and attract members / users.
- Grants – available for both capital works and revenue activities. For more information click
- New commercial activities – could you serve food, operate a bar, hire out the facilities to other users and a community café.
- Gift Aid - claim on all donations when registered for CASC. Click here for more information.
- Partnership – create a partnership with another sports club or community group. This can maximise the use of the facility and provide a year-round income.
- Reduce Utility Bills - make improvements to the building and change behaviours, for example installing push stop showers, double glazing and setting a time programme for the heating.
- Volunteers – activities can be run by volunteers once they are appropriately trained. For more information click
- Reduce Business Rates - 80% relief on business rates are available to clubs registered as Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). Please click here for more information.
- New Suppliers – shop around for new suppliers of services and goods to ensure the best value is being obtained.
- Tax Advice - clubs are liable to pay tax so seek financial advice on what your tax liabilities might be and how best to manage them. For more information click
There is lots of additional support available:
Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)
Club Solutions was created to help sports clubs and volunteers in Wales. Please visit our website for further information about facilities.
The Welsh Government also have further guidance available.
Alternatively, you can contact your Local Authority or National Governing Body.