Chanctonbury Community Leisure is a registered charity in the village of Storrington, West Sussex. As with many not-for-profit leisure bodies, it leases its main centre site from the local council and uses it to run leisure, sports and wellbeing services for the benefit of people in the area. Its charitable status means any surplus generated by the centre is invested back into facilities and services.
Chanctonbury Leisure Centre had previously been part of a larger body, Adur Community Leisure Ltd, which went into liquidation in 2020 due to the financial impact of COVID-19. Chanctonbury Leisure Centre itself had been closed in this period. Chanctonbury Community Leisure Ltd was created in February 2021, registered as a charity. It secured a lease from the parish council on a 15-year peppercorn (nominal) rent, then set about reopening the centre.
However, the newly-independent charity still needed capital, both to get it through a difficult operating period with limited cashflow and to invest in new services. This included an ambition to hire a Wellbeing Programme Manager, to work closely with health and social services in the area for a more holistic approach to public health and wellbeing. It also features a plan to redevelop the outdoor games court into an all-weather pitch with a rubber crumb surface, which would help to generate more income.
After initially exploring other options, Eastside Primetimers consultants helped Chanctonbury determine that working with CAF Venturesome under the Access Reach programme was their best route for raising the finance they needed.
Consultant Mike Taylor put together a five-year financial projection, including cashflow and potential footfall, along with a business case for capital to fund the new outdoor pitch and a scaled-up staff team at Chanctonbury. As well as the need for a Wellbeing Programme Manager, it was determined that additional staff capacity would allow the leisure trust’s senior team to better balance business management with operational matters. To further demonstrate social impact, the drafting process also collated comments from users and other stakeholders about proposed services and how these would improve their quality of life. The proposed plan drew inspiration from UK Active’s framework for leisure centre recoveries following COVID-19.
Based on the proposal, CAF Venturesome agreed to provide Chanctonbury Community Leisure a 3-year £100,000 social investment loan for cashflow and staff, with an interest rate of 6.5%. The deal also included an additional £50,000 grant, to be used for the wellbeing programme and the development of the outdoor pitch.
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