Gasworks Dock Partnership

Gasworks Dock Partnership

Fundraising support for Cody Dock

What’s Cody Dock?

Cody Dock is a thriving creative and community hub on the River Lea in Newham, East London. Led by the charity Gasworks Dock Partnership (GDP), local people come together to landscape and regenerate this former derelict dock to transform it into an exciting community-led cultural quarter. With community gardens and footpaths, people go to explore the waterways environment and learn more about the area’s heritage.

“It’s fair to say, if it wasn’t for A5cend, we wouldn’t have kept going. A5cend was able to provide an outside perspective and made us see that it was worth sticking at it.”

Before ASCEND got involved

GDP was established in 2011 and for the first 5 years or so it was an entirely voluntary organisation. Before working with A5cend, GDP had applied twice to the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) for a Reaching Communities grant. Their proposals met the criteria and BIG liked what they were doing, but the grant applications were turned down because GDP lacked the necessary infrastructure.

Their need

GDP found itself in a ‘chicken-and-egg’ situation. It’s work had been extremely well-received and had even achieved national recognition. But GDP lacked sustainable income to support the volunteers who were doing all of the work. Despite handling around 900 volunteers per year, GDP had no office, no paid staff and no formal systems in place. Yet without staff and a proper infrastructure, it was struggling to secure larger-scale funding.

GDP identified that in order to become sustainable it would need a project manager, an engagement team, an administration team, an office and some equipment. But convincing BIG that it was able to do this was tricky.

Services delivered:

 Health-check

Organisational strength-review

Fundraising strategy

Funding bids revenue and core

 Large scale capital fundraising planning

Evaluation

“Both Reaching Communities and other funders were happy that we were using external evaluators. It also makes us more professional, which will hopefully help us to get better funding and resources in future.”

How A5CEND helped

After writing a draft application in-house, GDP turned to A5cend to help refine it. They also helped GDP to access BIG’s Building Capabilities grant to help build the organisation’s capacity. We carried out an Organisational Strength Review, which looked at GDP’s development needs around:

  • Governance,
  • Management,
  • HR,
  • Training & Development,
  • User Involvement,
  • Partnership Working,
  • Communications,
  • Finance & Fundraising,
  • Monitoring & Evaluation,
  • and IT & Facilities.

We then used this to help GDP structure the Capital Build element of its Reaching Communities bid and to lever in extra funding through the Building Capabilities grant to strengthen its infrastructure.

“A5cend made us realise that we didn’t need to have everything in place from the beginning. They told us about the Building Capabilities element of the Reaching Communities grant which we could use to build our capacity. The internal review was very useful. Out of that we were able to lever in extra investment to develop key tools, such as our client database system and our new website. It also gave us capacity to re-shape our board and how it works together.”

The impact

With A5cend’s help, GDP was finally successful in its application for a Reaching Communities grant and was awarded funding for a 3-year project. The project has helped to fund a team of paid staff, an office, volunteer facilities and new processes and systems to ensure the smooth running of the charity. This in turn has helped GDP to regenerate the public areas at Cody Dock, construct new creative studios, moorings and visitor facilities that will in time enable GDP to generate a sustainable income, and engage thousands of people in the shared experience of transforming their area.