Established in 2017 Reality Theatre are a Community Interest Company that address social issues within Newport and the surrounding areas over the Welsh Valleys. They aim to retell the narratives of real people and have touched on social issues such as caring for the elderly, loneliness and isolation, hate crime, domestic violence and mental illness.
However, CEO Juls Benson found that previous funding streams had dried up and a recent application for a grant had been unsuccessful, as criteria had changed and more people were applying for smaller pots of money. Juls approached Cranfield Trust for help and explained, “We required support and help in devising a strategic business plan to enable us to secure more long-term funding and to become more sustainable. This would help secure paid roles for key staff which in turn, would allow us to develop our work as an organisation.”
Volunteer Gary Metcalfe at Cranfield Trust in Wales helped Juls to develop a 3-year strategic plan and other supporting strategies, including identifying funding streams. He said: “To get to the solution needed we had to explore other aspects of the business and not just draft a business plan, e.g. celebrating past achievements, identifying why the business actually existed and how this had changed from its original intention.”
The work included sessions in which Gary went back to basics so the management team could re-focus their efforts on the important areas of their work. Juls exclaimed: “An awesome session today with our business mentor Gary Metcalfe from Cranfield Trust. What an approachable and knowledgeable guy! New business model, here we come!”
Building on the new model and strategic plan, it all came down to ‘money’ and Juls subsequently reported: “Another brilliant session with our business mentor - financial profiling this time. It's heartening to see there are knowledgeable and experienced people out there willing to put something back with no benefit to themselves.”
“An awesome session today with our business mentor Gary Metcalfe from Cranfield Trust, what an approachable and knowledgeable guy! New business model, here we come!”
At the end of the project, the management team was left with enthusiasm and vigour to operate and think as a business, not just as a Community Interest Company. “Our last session today with the very patient and knowledgeable Gary Metcalfe, our business mentor from Cranfield Trust.
By pitching at the right level, he managed to teach us a great deal and helped to create a sense of worth within each team member. We have learned so much from this and have become more confident as an organisation in moving forward.”
“We are thrilled to announce we have been awarded a £99,000 National Lottery grant which enables us to continue our work tackling loneliness and isolation in older people across Newport for the next three years."
It didn’t take long before they reapplied for the grant they had previously failed to secure and Juls was delighted to report back to the Trust, “We are thrilled to announce we have been awarded a £99,000 National Lottery grant which enables us to continue our work tackling loneliness and isolation in older people across Newport for the next three years. Grants such as these enable organisations not only to develop vital community projects, but to employ and offer some security to our freelance workers in the current climate. We are looking forward to starting this amazing project!”
Another success story with a little help from Cranfield Trust.