Restructuring a young venture to access funding

AP Youth and Childhood

“Andrew was amazing. He was really personal. I felt like I built up a relationship with him straight away because of the work he’s done and his experience. He was really interesting to speak to. He could sense my passion for helping young people and could relate to that. When I get more funding and am ready for the next step, I’ll definitely come back to Action Planning.”

AP Youth and Childhood is a Manchester-based support service for young people with social and emotional needs. Its founder is Adam Pickersgill, a young behavioural specialist working in primary schools. Adam was running the service as a side project but wanted to reduce his school working hours to three days a week and spend more time on the youth service, widening its reach and eventually making it his full-time job. In order to do that he needed funding but, having launched the service as a private limited company with shareholders, had discovered that this company structure made him ineligible for a lot of charity funding.

Adam sought advice from Manchester Youth Zone (MYZ), who recommended he speak to Andrew Rainer, an Action Planning consultant with 30 years experience in organisational structure and funding.

The brief was quite simple: “How can I restructure my organisation so that I can apply for funding?”

Andrew and Adam met online via Teams and spent about half an hour discussing the situation. Andrew then went away and prepared a paper offering several options, from which Adam picked one. “I chose the easier option, to be fair. On the report he sent links and all sorts of things to make it all more accessible.” Andrew offered some further support in setting up his chosen option and looking at funding opportunities.

On Andrew’s advice, Adam set up a new limited company by guarantee, under which he now runs the youth service. This structure qualifies him for a range of funding, including the National Lottery Community Fund, to which he has applied. He retained the private limited company in order to service a contract he has with a fostering agency. He intends to register as a charity eventually, with further support from Action Planning, but at the moment it’s one step at a time. The restructure has given him the confidence to drop his primary school work down to three days a week from April so he can spend more time on his youth service.

Consultant’s insight:
​​​​​​​This originated as an enquiry for a piece of work that we didn’t get but led to something else. The enquiry came from MYZ, who said they had a member with a governance and company formation question. It was basically taking a guy who’s very good at what he does and giving him the appropriate structure to maximise service delivery.

We would have done more but MYZ, who funded the work, didn’t have the budget. This case shows how Action Planning can adapt to client requirements and changing budgets, we have associates with a wide range of experience and we can operate a specialist advice service for infrastructure bodies.

It was great to be able to help Adam and it showed how we can really add value for people in his situation. It took me three hours and 30 years experience and probably saved him a fortnight.

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