Lewisham Council - Developing your project
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How to develop your community led project

At this stage you’ll need to refine your ideas. These are some of the key questions you should ask yourself about your project in order to take it forward.

When will your project start and finish?

Having a defined timeline for your project will help it to stay on track. It’s important that everyone involved has similar expectations about what can be achieved in the time available. This might also be a good time to think about the ongoing running, upkeep or maintenance of your project once it's completed. If you’re building something, how will it be maintained? Who’s responsibility will it be if your project is damaged? What is the longer term ambition for your scheme?

How will it be resourced?

You may need to draw on expert opinions or advice from specialists to make your plans a reality. If your project involves modifications to an existing building or extensive new building work you will probably need architects, building engineers and surveyors to assist you. The procurement pages of this website features a list of trade bodies, which should help you to get started.

Who will be responsible for day to day decision-making?

Understanding who has responsibility in key areas and being clear about the decision-making responsibilities of members of your group will help you deliver a successful project. To formalise the structure of your project, you might want to set up your own voluntary group or charity.

How much will it cost?

You may be able to complete your project without funding, if it involves minimal equipment and material costs and the people involved may volunteer their time. However, if you need funding for your project you might be able to apply for a grant:

Bear in mind that grant making bodies will place conditions on funding. They are likely to expect your group to be formally constituted, with written protocols and decision making processes. In line with finance, fraud and audit regulations grants will be monitored by the giving organisations. Nominated people in your group will need to take responsibility for the appropriate administration of funds.

You might want to explore other means of funding and resourcing your project:

  • Community shares
  • Micro finance loans
  • Fundraising
  • Time banking
  • Volunteers (information and advice is available through Voluntary Action Lewisham).

Depending on what you plan to do, you may also need permission or advice from a Council department:

  • If you think the site is owned by the Council you can check with our property team.
  • If the land is not owned by the Council you should contact the Land Registry.
  • The Council’s local land charges team can provide you with information about existing planning permissions and preservation orders.
  • If you need to submit a planning application you can talk over your initial plans with the planning team.
  • If you’re working on an existing building you may need to contact building control about your plans to ensure that they comply with the most up to date health and safety standards.

Council departments will also be able to help with:

Before any work begins, you’ll need to ensure that you are meeting all relevant health and safety regulations. It’s important that you think about the potential hazards related to your project, particularly if it involves demolition or building work– regardless of how minor the works might be. Drawing up health and safety plans, which include information about known hazards, as well as advice about safe working arrangements, may help to prevent accidents or near misses. 

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