What We Do
What We Do
Our services for the cultural and heritage sector include:
We can act as an expert mentor between you and your professional project team. For example, where a major development project is at the concept stage or where a project may have gone awry and requires review and realignment. For small organisations, we can offer support to the Board, similar to a project director. For larger organisations, we can be a guiding hand, coordinating the work of the internal client team towards a clear set of development milestones, where a single independent ‘mastermind’ is missing.
Natural History Museum, Tate Liverpool, Chamberlain Highbury Trust
‘In August 2019 the Chamberlain Highbury Trust appointed Cultural Consulting Network as Project Development Consultants. The Trust had failed three times to secure a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and decided to appoint consultants to review our project and to lead the submission of a revised bid to the new NLHF.
We were amazed at the way Katie gathered all the various strands of our project and helped us to prioritise our objectives. She formed excellent personal relationships with all our trustees…and went beyond the agreed outline … extending the timescale of her contract to steer us through the pandemic, using the time to reflect on its impact and further adapt our project to address a changing social and economic climate.
The outcome of CCN’s work was the award of a major grant from the NLHF in September 2021. What could be a better recommendation? Her colleague in CCN, Sophia has similarly impressed.’
Les Sparks OBE, Chair of Chamberlain Highbury Trust
We have extensive experience of producing successful NLHF Activity Plans for a wide range of organisations. We ensure the plans are compliant with NLHF guidelines and sector good practice as well as practically useful for service planning and delivery.
We can help you understand NLHF requirements and guide you through the process and different stages. We offer ideas, expertise and the ability to plan effectively to make your Activity Plan work for you and your audiences. We often combine this with help with interpretation, learning and volunteering.
We are proactive as part of a wider professional team, making sure the aspirations and needs of your audiences are properly reflected in spatial, design and capital plans as well as business plans.
We are regularly commissioned by NLHF to mentor organisations through their Activity Planning.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council • Birmingham Cathedral • Severn Valley Railway • Braemar Castle • Stover Country Park
‘CCN worked with us on activity and interpretation planning for the Council’s successful Heritage Horizons £9m NLHF application for our Winter Gardens. We thought very highly of CCN who provided an incredibly thorough and professional service, bringing a wealth of knowledge of the sector and special insight. CCN worked proactively with the rest of the professional team and our planned specialist partners. CCN are head and shoulders above some other consultancies in the sector.’
Darren Barker, Chief Executive, Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust/Great Yarmouth Borough Council
‘The best consultants on our team, CCN were very good at understanding the brief and easy to work with. They listen and understand quickly and are proactive in their approach. Really positive that they involved our team in developing partnerships so they are properly sustainable from the client side.’
St Marylebone Parish Church
We work with organisations to help them to better understand the impact of their work. We have evaluated all kind of activities from how organisations serve their audiences to the value of their conservation work.
We use an outcomes-based framework that fits the requirements of major funders such as the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England, deploying a range of methodologies and tools. As experienced trainers and mentors, we enjoy enabling our clients to carry out more effective evaluation themselves, including front-end and formative evaluation, piloting and user testing.
We have been instrumental in developing a number of evaluative methodologies and frameworks for national projects.
National Lottery Heritage Fund Policy Team, The National Archives, Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust, Middleton Hall Trust, Mary Rose Trust
‘CCN provided a professional depth of sector knowledge and independence to complement our own expertise when we needed to get a feel for how our reach and advice was being received. The feedback and recommendations were encouraging and have proved invaluable in shaping and informing our activity and focus. CCN demonstrated a refreshing ability to distil a wide range of impressions and comments.’
The National Archives
“I wanted to thank you for the excellent work your team achieved with the production of the independent evaluation of the Mary Rose Project. To say this was a mammoth undertaking is no exaggeration as it covered ten years of the project…The fact that key stakeholders feel that you captured and presented the issues so well is testament to your approach and style.”
Robert Lapraik, Deputy CX, Mary Rose Trust
‘Katie has worked with our Trust as Mentor and Evaluator on a NLHF funded Resilient Heritage project. We have found her to be very experienced in the heritage/culture sector enabling her to draw comparisons and provide examples, she has given important guidance, has provided great value and has been a pleasure to work with’
Bryan Brown, Chair of the Friends of Abingdon Abbey Buildings Trust
We provide comprehensive support for fundraising for capital works and revenue. This is often linked to developing the capacity and expertise of organisations to enable them to sustain fundraising in the long term. Services include:
- Audit and review of current activities, capacity and expertise in fundraising
- Research into potential sources of funding and identification of key prospects and approach
- Fundraising strategies and action plans, with resource requirements and programme for work
- Set up of fundraising boards, including recruitment of board members, training and mentoring
- Staff and volunteer training and mentoring in donations solicitation and fundraising activities
Corinium Museum, Gloucestershire Archives
“Marilyn was our Fundraiser for our £1.6m National Lottery Heritage Fund project “Stone Age to Corinium”. Marilyn’s approach was to act as a Mentor to me and teach me the necessary skills and expertise to become a fundraiser myself, as well as offering strategic support and guidance to fundraise for our campaign. Her input was invaluable and has meant that I have gone on to raise substantial sums of funding for the project and had further success at national funding programmes for different projects. All of this was down to Marilyn’s enthusiasm and willingness to share her vast experience and knowledge of fundraising with me whilst nurturing my own development to become self-sufficient in continuing to raise funds for the Museum.”
Amanda Hart Director Corinium Museum
We enjoy helping heritage and cultural organisations get better at what they do. Our approach is based on developing others to learn and reflect.
We offer a package of development opportunities to support an organisation’s thinking, skills and understanding of members of governing bodies.
We support trustee boards to review their operation and consider if the current model is fit for purpose. We provide trustee skill reviews and audits and advise on board composition, including where skills may need building.
We can assist with trustee recruitment and induction.
We provide support to organisations developing their governance capacity, skills and succession planning. This work is often undertaken as part of the Heritage Lottery Resilient Heritage Grants, AIM Sustainability Grants, AIM Hallmarks.
Plant Heritage Trust, New Forest Centre, Oxford House, Fulham Palace Trust, National Motor Museum Beaulieu
“Marilyn and CCN provided expert facilitation for our recent board away days. At all stages from initial scoping and planning through to the day itself, Marilyn supported the process perfectly. Trustees valued her calm, intuitive and insightful approach.”
John Ryan CEO Oxford House
‘I found the planning session very useful, especially the first discussion about mission, vision and aspirations. Having a round-up of Marilyn and Sophia’s recent research and comparators with other similar organisations was also very helpful. I found the day enormously useful in developing my understanding of our plans.’
Trustee, Fulham Palace Trust
‘Let me just say how critical Katie was to the group’s success. She guided us with great skill and dexterity through our working brief without ever losing our trust and confidence or cramping our style. Most importantly, through her excellent inter-personal skills she created a space that encouraged the spirit of unfettered intellectual inquiry. She was the kind of facilitator that working parties dream about.’
Ranjit Sondhi, Chair of Colonial History and Heritage Working Group, Chamberlain Highbury Trust
We help organisations to think about how the significance and meaning of the heritage and culture they care for is communicated. We aim to inspire visitors to focus, engage, question, reflect and come to their own understanding of what an object, site or experience means to them.
We offer a framework for detailed planning that can make the most of a site’s resources and devise the best means of delivery for different types of visitor. Our approach provides a clear structure for sharing key stories, themes and messages.
We often combine the development of learning and interpretation plans with audience development strategies, as part of an overall Activity Plan. We offer research-based and creative ways of consulting with current and potential visitors, users, partners, volunteers and other key stakeholders.
We are confident to contribute to the development of extended partnership projects with a focus on learning, engagement and participation. These often follow a shared theme and may include both informal and formal learning programmes, training, mentoring and volunteer involvement.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Bevis Marks Synagogue, Severn Valley Railway, Highdown Gardens, New Forest Centre
‘Katie created the Activity Plan for the restoration and interpretation of the Severn Valley Railways’ iconic 7-arch Viaduct, Falling Sands. …Katie’s greatest strength is an ability to share her knowledge and passion with many different kinds of people – and to work with them to develop a shared understanding, which can then be communicated to our visitors and wider community.’
Shelagh Patterson, Development Director, Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust.
‘I have read your learning review report with great interest, and I can see that it will provide us with a powerful mandate for change. It is thorough and realistic and will guide us going forward in developing our new service’.
Jacqueline Broomfield, Trustee, New Forest Centre.
We provide an independent, critical eye to give a clear and rational assessment of your current situation. This ensures emerging options are accurately tested against a proper understanding of a project’s vision and objectives. We work with you to agree the brief, and use transparent and informed assessment criteria to develop options. Options are assessed against their potential to meet outcomes, using principles set out in the Treasury Green Book. We help you to understand what is feasible in your sector whilst adding a degree of ambitious realism. Our work has formed the basis of first stage business cases to Local Enterprise Partnerships and DCMS.
Milton Keynes Council, Canal and River Trust, Old Deanery Wells, Natural History Museum and DfE
‘We commissioned CCN to work with us on developing options for both a City Museum and City Archive, both complex pieces of work, with multiple partners and stakeholder interest. CCN demonstrated a flair for engagement and a strong methodology and approach that worked through the various issues with both thoroughness and impartiality and with expert knowledge .. to bring together recommended options that were the right balance between aspirational and realistic.’
Milton Keynes Council
‘We found the CCN team were able to provide a valuable external perspective when we were looking at the future options for moving towards a sustainable museum. With their experience and expertise of heritage projects and their down to earth approach, they brought a fresh insight into our challenges and gave us workable solutions’
Graham Boxer Director National Waterways Museum
We have extensive experience of National Lottery Heritage Funding. We often work as part of wider teams including architects, exhibition designers, landscape designers, cost consultants and specialist support, such as archives assessment. Our services for National Lottery Heritage Funding projects include:
• Options and feasibility studies
• Support for Expression of Interests and applications under new National Lottery Strategic Funding Framework 2019-2024.
• Support for Round 1 and Round 2 applications including project planning and development, writing applications and budgets.
• Research and production of Activity Plans, Interpretation Plans, Business Plans, and Evaluation Plans for Round 2 applications.
• Fundraising including funding research, fundraising strategies and action plans (with related training and mentoring as required)
• Strategy development, governance, finance and organisational review and business planning as part effective project planning.
In addition, we support organisations through the AIM Hallmarks Scheme.
Gloucestershire Archives, Royal College of Music Museum, World Wildlife Fund, St Mary’s Walthamstow
‘Working with CCN has been a pleasurable and energising experience. We wanted to work with our consultants and partners to draw up an innovative vision for our service, and to be both challenged and supported. CCN quickly gained a good grasp of our requirements and delivered beyond our expectations. They impressed our partners and community groups. We benefited from their flexibility and having three members with different, but very relevant, skills and experience.’
‘Thank you so much – you have provided such invaluable support, right from the outset when guiding our Trustees and team through the process of prioritising our capital needs and aspirations to arrive at the project, through the fantastic guidance and input you gave to us on the NLHF application …. We really could not have done this without you, and very much hope we’ll be able to work with you further.’
Alison Bevan, Director, Royal West Academy.
‘Oxford House worked with CCN on our successful £2.9m round 2 application to NLHF. The team were excellent and particularly the strength in depth and different skills. Their support and advice was always timely and considered’.
John Ryan, CX, Oxford House
We recognise it is not easy to develop a sustainable organisational strategy that safeguards heritage and develops audiences, whilst balancing the books.
We provide a fresh eye and practical approach to strategic development and planning. We enjoy working with governing bodies and executive teams to get to the heart of an issue and map out a clear way ahead.
We have wide experience of business planning. This includes direct service delivery, advice, support and assessment which draws on our financial, retailing and catering expertise. We encourage realism and ambition, taking pride in developing plans that build from the current situation to an accurate reflection of what is possible.
Our approach helps you to plan for a finite capital project, but also make a positive difference to your organisation long-term. We are experienced in guiding partnership development, generating a consensus across disparate institutions on aims, objectives, outputs and outcomes.
We often develop business and project plans in the context of emerging National Lottery Heritage Fund applications.
RCM Museum, Museum of Oxford, The Old Prison, Fulham Palace Trust
‘‘We found working with CCN on our Round 2 NLHF application and Business Plan to be wonderful. As a team they are an excellent blend of solid, creative, adaptable, tenacious and supportive. Thank you very much.”
Museum Curator and Project Director, Royal College of Music Museum
‘I thought this was really very high quality and would encourage you to show how the information gained from the plan (of all types) has influenced your decision with regard to the project i.e. make considerable reference to it in your application form.’
NLHF review of Business Plan for the Museum of Oxford