Assessing feasibility for expansion plan

St Mary’s Cogges

"David was very professional. He asked good questions and his interviews were both affirming and challenging. He helped people to think through their feelings and delivered a report that helped the PCC to move forward with clarity and purpose."

SIMON KIRBY, VICAR, ST MARY’S COGGES

Background
St Mary’s Cogges is a a 12th century church in Witney, Oxfordshire. The vicar, Simon Kirby, is very active in the local community and the church provides a base for numerous community activities. So much so that it had become apparent that the church needed more space than the ancient building could provide if it was to continue to develop its good work. There was agreement among the Parochial Church Council that something needed to be done, but what exactly that should be was proving harder to decide.

Brief
Initial research into local property for sale suggested a fund of around £3million would be required. We were asked to carry out a feasibility study on behalf of St Mary’s Cogges to determine whether such a sum was a realistic aim for the church.

Process
David Saint met with Simon and the PCC to talk about their vision for the new building. They had already done quite a lot of work on identified needs and David was able to take this away to digest. Together with Associate Consultant Corinna Rae he also spent two days interviewing 20 members of the congregation, to gather the differing opinions on what the church was seeking to do.
Action Planning then carried out research into external funding opportunities available to the church, and compiled a report on the overall findings, with an analysis of the situation and a conclusion on whether or not the project was viable.

Outcome
David presented his report to the PCC, who agreed in principle to his recommendation of a fairly robust and ‘intentional’ fundraising strategy. The report included an assessment of how well the church was communicating its vision and bringing interested parties on board.
While the church has a number of challenges, including the need to repair the roof, it now knows that the vision of expanding to an extra building is feasible and has a clearer understanding of the time and energy involved.  

Consultant’s insight
When you are in the thick of planning a major project like a new building, it can become very hard to retain objectivity and a sense of realism and proportion. For some this can result in wild optimism and for others crushing pessimism. An externally conducted fundraising feasibility study brings that fresh perspective, from someone with no axe to grind – just a desire to set out what seems sensible and doable, even though it might be challenging. It was great to work with a client who was committed and visionary, but also open-minded and willing to take on board fresh thinking.

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