Island House has 50 years of experience in addressing the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being of people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and faiths in the Isle of Dogs and wider Tower Hamlets which is an area of high social deprivation. A trusted community centre, working closely with local partners, offering a range of effective services - health and wellbeing sessions, language and pre-employment training, and clubs addressing loneliness, all effectively improving the lives and prospects of their clients. They aim to address the emotional, physical, social, and spiritual needs of those of all faiths, seeking to identify gaps in service provision and make partnerships wherever possible.
Paul Rogers (Centre Director and Project Lead) reached out to the Trust back in November 2022. Island House had been through a difficult period in which they lost local authority funding and had to adapt to survive.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul realised he needed help to reenergize, inspire and engage the team and community. To do this, he needed a new business plan with a strong purpose, vision and clear future direction.
Cranfield Trust Volunteer Consultant Naveed Ahmed was identified as the best fit for this project due to his wealth of experience in business planning.
Naveed felt that he could help Paul and Island House with the challenges they were facing and agreed to step in.
“Although the charity, in Isle of Dogs, was some distance away, with Pauls’ willingness to travel I felt I could help out due to the community being served and the challenges he was facing. I felt it was a very worthwhile charity and it was clear that Paul was single-handedly trying to manage; I felt I could help him delegate and release stress.” – Naveed Ahmed, Cranfield Trust Volunteer
During the course of the project, Naveed and Paul worked together to pull together a business plan with a focus on expanding services and exactly how this would be done. As part of this process, Naveed provided one on one support to Paul in a number of areas, taking the time to fully understand the challenges Paul was facing, helping to problem solve and come up with solutions and empowering Paul to tackle these challenges with confidence.
CEO Paul Rogers commented on the impact of this project:
“We now have a management team who are increased in numbers, skills and engagement, a business plan and a renewed and reinvigorated CEO. Although there have been no staff changes, attitude, enthusiasm and energy have increased and as a result our work is increasing in scope and effectiveness. We’re putting concrete plans in place to expand our services for beneficiaries.
It is a much more encouraging 6 months ahead, the landscape seems less harsh with more opportunities coming up and grants received. We’ve got the 1-year plan and have already got a 2nd awayday planned – we know where we’re heading.”
Paul also commented on his experience working with volunteer consultant, Naveed:
“Naveed pushed me to be much more demanding in terms of managing my people and efficient ways of working. Naveed would ask, have you tried this etc? This was very useful to me. It gave me a lot more confidence in my own abilities. Naveed would say – you are the Centre Director; you can do that, I’d not had this before.
I was someone willing to be helped and Naveed was able to offer advice. We worked well together and it’s key to such a good result. We now have a treasurer and Chair of Trustees.”
Speaking on the overall impact this project has had, Island House CEO Paul Rogers said:
“The impact is Immeasurable! Small charities just can't afford to spend valuable funds on developing strategy and mentoring a CEO. The benefits of the personal mentoring I have received on this project, as well as the support in writing a business plan and increasing the skills and engagement of the trustees have been invaluable and I cannot thank the Cranfield Trust enough.”
Volunteer Consultant Naveed Ahmed said:
“Paul has been able to focus on the things that are most important to him in his role and for the charity.” “It was a good match and rapport, Paul was enthusiastic, had a positive attitude, was open to new ideas and ran with them. Without these the project wouldn’t have been such a success – it’s a two-part process.”