Key Aims Identified Through 2014 Service Reviews

Key Aims Identified Through 2014 Service Reviews

Blackfriars Settlement /
Strategic Plan 2015 - 2020 /
Sustainability in creating opportunities /



Key Aims identified through 2014 Service Reviews

Children and Young People (CYPS)

Early Years

Play / After School Club


Older People’s Services (OPS)

Learning and Development (L&D)

Mental Health and Well-being (MHWB)

Community Buildings

Cross Settlement Themes

A New Way of Working

The Strategy

Centrality of Community Engagement

Doing with, not doing to – Co-Production

Develop links with Public Sector bodies

Pre Employability Support

This provides opportunities for us to develop further effective partnerships with other providers delivering employability/employment support.

Preventative work in Health and Well-being

Maximise Community Buildings Income

Income Generation and Deficit Reduction

Funding for Service Delivery

Voluntary Fundraising

Social Enterprise

External Partnerships

Learning and Development – the way forward

Communications and Marketing

Impact and Evaluation


The Executive Team

Core Services

Finance Department

Community Buildings.





For 128 years, Blackfriars Settlement (BFS) has sought to understand the needs of local people and to develop ways of meeting those needs. This has been achieved by being a settled part of the community, well known and respected for its activities. Initially being settled meant a resident community of individuals (all educated women in our case) sharing their privilege and opportunity within deprived communities. This meeting of need has been marked by a listening to local people and together creating opportunities. The Settlement Movement has long embodied the contemporary principle of Co-Production.

An important strand to this is the concept of membership within the Settlement. Currently this term is used in two ways. Formal membership conveys the right to vote at an Annual General Meeting while a looser use describes anyone who uses the services of the Settlement. Both of these are valuable concepts, a revision of the Memorandum and Articles will bring clarity to our use of the term.

This Strategic Plan follows the plan which guided the work of the Settlement for the last 5 years. During that time several significant events have taken place. It is helpful at the start to reflect on what Blackfriars Settlement has done well over that period and what have been challenges to the organisation.

The completion of the our new building on the old site at Rushworth Street has been a major step for the Settlement and provides us with a fit for purpose building for our existing services and with sufficient expansion space for us to develop new activities. While it is an asset from which we can derive unrestricted income, much needed in a period of reducing central and local government funding, its building has depleted the Settlement’s reserves and distracted management attention away from the development of the Settlement and exploration of new areas of work. This plan will address both of these issues.

Winning the contract to run Living Space from Lambeth Council was also a very significant achievement, against larger and better resourced organisations, however, it is an achievement with a number of majorchallenges, which this plan will address.

The achievement of the Investors in People award is a credit to the organisation. However, there are issues relating to the well-being of staff and their continuous professional development to which we must pay attention in the future while we make ourselves ready for the next stage of IIP accreditation. An Action Plan has been agreed by the Council and will form a part of this Strategy. (Appendix One)

The Settlement relies heavily on a large number of volunteers in all services and in the management of the business. We are most grateful to these individuals and will ensure that our recruitment, training and support of volunteers is of the highest quality.

The IIP Report highlights what it describes as a “parental” style of management which resulted in a high degree of staff dependency on management. Decisions are often referred up the chain when they could be taken at a level closer to those they affect. True Co-production will be best served by subsidiarity in decision making. The existence of deputies at several levels of the organisation embodies this.

There are also significant areas of weakness and challenge to the Settlement

The external environment has changed very significantly; the government’s austerity policy has brought deep cuts to publicly funded services and a steep increase in those applying to Grant Making Trusts whose resources remain constant. This makes it imperative that we diversify our income streams and reduce our dependence on public funds to achieve our goal of sustainability in creating opportunities.

In this context, many funders, both public and charitable are now asking for a much greater level of impact measurement focusing on outcomes rather than outputs. It is no longer sufficient to say how many people have used our services, we now have to account for the impact that the use has had on individual lives. We have not had a consistent method of doing this and as a result it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the impact of our work.We have commissioned Community Action Southwark (CAS) to put such a method of measuring and recording impact in place across the Settlement. Its implementation is a Cross-Settlement Priority and a key part of this strategy and will require training for staff in the use of Excel and an efficient database. The project has been funded by the Social Investment Bank (SIB).

In recent years the assessment of the quality of the Settlement’s governance and managementhas been raised and an intention to undertake Pqasso (covering all aspects of an organisation, from governance to service delivery and monitoring outcomes).accreditation has been discussed. During the life time of this plan it is important that the Settlement achieves Level 2 Accreditation, acknowledged by the Charity Commission as a good starting point.

The area of North Southwark in which we are placed and to a lesser extent the location of Living Space, North Lambeth, have changed enormously over the last few years with major regeneration taking place. This has impacted on the demographics of the area and means that our knowledge of the communities around us is less strong that it has been.

As noted above, the significance of our highly motivated staff and volunteers is central to the delivery of our objectives. We will continue to support staff through a revised Appraisal Scheme setting work priorities which will drive forward the achievement of this plan. We will also continue to encourage volunteering in the Settlement both by individuals and corporate supporters.

In all of this we are ambitious for our clients and will focus our energy on ensuring sustainability in creating opportunities.

Key Aims identified through 2014 Service Reviews

This Plan was formed through a process that began with the Service Reviews of 2014. Each of our Service Teams and our Community Buildings Team carried out an in depth review of their activities, coordinated by the Senior Services Manager to ensure consistency. The reviews have been scrutinised by the Finance Sub Group and accepted by The Settlement Council. The Review Objectives have been updated where appropriate:

Children and Young People (CYPS)

The Service will:

  • Build and develop opportunities for partnership through expansion of the Lambeth Youth Provider’s forum and other such groups.
  • Work with partners (existing and new as appropriate) for service delivery and seek opportunity for funding applications to support sustainability.
  • Ensure discussion and exploration of joint opportunities with other Blackfriars services.

Early Years

To raise funding through grants and possibly private or corporate funding for a community facility for parents and children based at one of our two centres.

That EY provision should be a part of a progression through play and youth for a joined up service to families.

Play / After School Club

Preventative services for young people, including support service for those in need of additional support and for those at risk. Including a focus on those exhibiting Mental Health issues but below the threshold for CAHMS intervention.

Increased opportunities for partnership and building consortia

Increase health and well-being activity

Increased attendance at After School Club (Breakfast Clubs – Homework Clubs?)


  • Preventative services for young people, including support service for those in need of additional support and for those at risk.
  • Increased opportunities for partnership and building consortia
  • Increase health and well-being activity

A key priority will be to improve on how we publicise our services; our Young Leaders group are keen to support us in this area. They have lots of ideas of how we can use new technology to reach more young people to raise awareness of the services and activities that we have to offer.

Develop a model of co-production and design; building on the success of the Young leaders project and continuing to improve public perception of young people. Use Jack Petchey Awards Scheme and other youth-led funding opportunities to recognise their contributions.

Increase volunteer recruitment from within the service and externally to support service delivery

Older People’s Services (OPS)

The service will focus delivery in 3 areas

  • Preventative services for older people 50+ including befriending, activities, groups and clubs
  • Increased support and activity for dementia and malnutrition prevention and support for older people and their carers
  • Increase health and well-being activity

We will:

  • Increase volunteer recruitment from within the service and externally to support service delivery
  • Build on the strong partnership work with COPSINS (a consortium of organisations offering services to older people and funded by the London Borough of Southwark).
  • Continue to work with partners (existing and new as appropriate) for service delivery and seek opportunity for funding applications to support sustainability. This will include discussion and exploration of joint opportunities with MHWBS.

Learning and Development (L&D)

Using our strengths in ESoL provision, using a variety of vehicles, we will:

  • Develop informal and formal learning to promote Blackfriars Settlement as a community learning service on our own site and in other community settings.
  • Research gaps in the local market to develop a strategy for growth in Learning and Development

In forming this strategy going forward, 5 areas need to be considered:

  1. Viability and Sustainability of the current model both financially and administratively
  2. Alternative/additional sources of funding for the service e.g. grant funding
  3. Accommodation requirements and benefits of delivery off site (in the community and at Living Space)
  4. Future and further partnership working
  5. Identifying and meeting the skills needs of the community and of funders.

This will provide a framework to:

  • Agree an appropriate and effective staff team supported by IT systems to enable the service to grow and develop.
  • Extend Information and Guidance.
  • Become Matrix accredited to demonstrate the quality of Information, Advice and Guidance offered to students.
  • Identify skills need in the community and where L and D can fill the gaps both publicly and privately funded.

Mental Health and Well-being (MHWB)

The priority aim will be to generate income to sustain and grow the service through grant and contract funding and an increased appeal to personal budget holders. This will mean identifying alternative fund generating options by:

  • Increase the number of people with personal budgets (PB) who are accessing the service including from neighbouring boroughs ie Lambeth, Camden and Islington to generate income.
  • Explore more joint working with SRA (another social enterprise) to improve the sustainability and social value of Art2Print
  • Develop more activities around physical health as a support to improved mental healththrough the pilot of The Whole Health Cub, funded by Guys and St Thomas’s Trust

This will be underpinned by a focused service delivery approach in the following areas

  • Increased attendance at and delivery of, service strength areas (i.e. Most popular and most likely to attract personal budget holders) – art, craft, woodwork and IT. These areas represent recovery through social inclusion, skills development and independent living)
  • Develop peer led and peer supported activity for evidence of, and opportunity for, increased independence and recovery and to continue to build a co-produced model of delivery.
  • Increase physical activity opportunities and improved health options.
  • Develop the employment/employability side of the service to offer stronger pathways for those who want it as well as the surround support that this group will need to achieve their goals.
  • We will work with CYPS to develop new work in supporting young people who exhibit mental health issues.

Community Buildings

We will invest in both people and buildings to ensure that we maximise the return on our investment while still providing space from which our services can operate and a resource to the local community.

  • Recruit suitably qualified staff to strengthen the team in lettings management and marketing
  • Invest in training for all team members
  • Build the support to existing staff through a pool of caretakers
  • Invest in additional administrative, reception and sales staff time
  • Invest in upgrading the bookings system
  • Invest in upgrading rooms to let to premium level
  • Take full advantage of the upgraded ballcourt at Living Space for both community and wider use.
  • Reduce the loan finance that Rushworth Street has to repay
  • Negotiate lease extension at Living Space to provide ongoing services to young people and their families

Cross Settlement Themes

These Service Reviewssuggest a series of Cross-Settlement Themes, which were articulated first in the Consolidated Service Review.


  • Community Engagement
  • Co-production
  • Links with Public Sector
  • Pre Employability support
  • Preventative work in Health and Well-being
  • Maximising Income from Community Buildings

  • Income Generation
  • Control of Expenditure – Core Functions
  • Social Enterprise
  • Forming Strategic Partnerships
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Rationalising Staffing Patterns
  • Impact and Evaluation


A New Way of Working

These cross-settlement themes underline that the organisation should move from 4 distinct service areas that have been described as silos into a more integrated model of delivery in which the areas of overlap between the services are exploited in service delivery:

Instead we will integrate our services

A proposed new staffing model outlined below will enable this overlapping model to become key to the way in which the Settlement operates while the process of Community Engagement and the resulting Business Development will result in further, overlapping circles each contributing to the others and creating opportunities for local people.

The Strategy

At the heart of our strategy for the next five years lies the principle of Community Engagement. This will be a Cross Settlement activity and will be the subject of a major application to the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund, a process that will take 6 months to complete.

Centrality of Community Engagement

As indicated in the Consolidated Services Review, engagement with local communities is seen as crucial by a number of partners: Southwark Council (LBS) have funded Community Action Southwark (CAS) to develop Community Engagement at a Community Council level; we are part of Borough, Bankside and Walworth. The Settlement will contribute to this process.

United St Saviours are appointing a Head of Community Investment reflecting their view that engaged organisations will bring transformation to local communities and that they believe they have the resources to fund the development of organisations like BFS to achieve this.

The Settlement believes that through this process we can be an instrument of community cohesion and the integration of diversity within our communities.

Since the Consolidated Service Review a partnership between four Settlements[1] in North Southwark has emerged and will be an important part of our bid to the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.

Doing with, not doing to – Co-Production

“Doing with, not doing to” is a simpler way of understanding the term Co-production which is open to a variety of misinterpretations. The focus of the Settlement should be based on our Strap Line – Creating opportunities together. A key function of the Settlement is to empower our staff to work with local people to identify what opportunities are needed and to develop them into service delivery.

Good examples of this can be seen in much of the Settlement’s work.

  • The CYPS Young Leaders who mapped out the summer holiday activities assisted by staff and the result was an excellent series of events.
  • Member led activities in MHWB, the Photography Club, Green Walkers Group and Reading Group; in spite of reducing resources this area of work has grown over the last 6 months.
  • Joining Hands is a totally co-produced model of older people leading the planning, design and delivery of this outreach project. As a result, Frank’s Club, the new meeting place for men over 50 was formed, named and led by its members.

For genuine Co-Production to become deeply embedded in the VCS, it needs to be a part of the practice of funders, particularly in the Public Sector. The London Borough of Lambeth has adopted this principle and its benefits can be seen in the commissioning of youth work through the Young Lambeth Co-operative.