Our achievements 2017 – 2018

Supporting hundreds of groups in Brighton and Hove

The year to March 2018 was another very successful one for the Centre.

  • A total of 841 different groups visited the centre during the year. Between them they made 2,739 visits in all, more than 50 visits each week. The majority were to use the print service or hire equipment.
  • Our special support to priority groups – groups based in areas of social housing; black and minority ethnic communities; and the disabled community – was used 597 times in the year indicating how successfully we are meeting our priorities.
  • On the information side our website continues to be heavily used and popular with groups in Brighton & Hove as well as nationally and internationally. In 2017-2018 our website was used by 7,260 different users in Brighton and Hove and a massive 439,438 users worldwide.
  • Feedback from users underlines the high quality of our services. Anonymous feedback cards consistently see more than 90% of users rating our services as excellent.

Monitoring and evaluation is an important part of all our work. We carefully monitor both use of the centre and feedback to ensure all our services are still valuable to groups. A full detailed breakdown of service use and user feedback is available on the website. Below we pull out some of this year’s highlights.

Print and equipment hire service

Looking firstly at the print service, this was used by 384 different groups in the year. This represents a huge range of groups in the city. The alphabetical list begins with Action for Bevendean Community and ends with Young Oasis. Along the way it takes in, for example, the Asperger Syndrome Support Education Resources Training (ASSERT), Brighton Quakers, Hollingdean Residents Association, Open Strings Music and Whitehawk Football Club.
These groups made over 1, 500 visits to use the service, an average of 30 visits to the print room a week. Materials produced included

  • Publicity leaflets and posters for events
  • Newsletters and members’ mailings
  • Letters, surveys and questionnaires
  • Information leaflets about services or local issues
  • Greetings cards and membership cards
  • Anthologies, pamphlets and zines

Our user survey shows satisfaction with the print service is extremely high – of the 66 groups responding 98% were very satisfied with the service – and quotes make clear how useful the service is to groups.

“Excellent staff – incredibly helpful, hands on and patient! “ – Friends of Stoneham Park

“It is just so helpful. You do not need IT expertise to print there as the patient help is always there.” – Brighton and Hove Amnesty International

It is worth remembering that the print service is self-help: groups do it themselves keeping down prices and utilising the time and commitment of groups volunteers. Of the 38 groups commenting in our survey 50% specifically praised our ‘helpful’, ‘friendly’ or ‘patient’ staff, showing how good we are at supporting volunteers doing their print.

Turning to the equipment hire service, this was used by 487 groups. Again the range is very large running from the 15th Brighton Scout Group to the Young Ummah Project and taking in, for example, Brighton Bike Hub, Caring Ladies Funeral Directors fundraiser for Blind Veterans, Free the Nipple, Leach Court Art Sessions and Saint Francis Church, Moulsecoomb.

The survey shows how many different activities our equipment supports. We asked every group who used us between 19th June and 13th July this year to fill in a form and had a very impressive 55% response. Users who answered the question listed 69 different events in the survey period. Not surprisingly 26 were Summer Fairs or Fetes, but the list also includes 2 football tournaments, 2 film screenings, a monthly residents’ association meeting, a Ramadan Bazaar, a silent disco, a pre planning financial modelling meeting and Trans Pride.

Users reported that over 22,000 people in all attended these events; an average of 350 people at each event which responded. They also reported that 39 of these events were fundraising events and that together they raised £77,000, an average of just under £2,000 an event. (We recognise, of course, that our equipment was only one factor in the success of these events.)
It’s worth stressing that these figures represent only a month’s use of the service, although admittedly one of the busiest. Scaling up to a full year indicates how many people have attended events our equipment has been used at, and the large sums raised by groups at these events.

Satisfaction with the service from users was extremely high – 86% of respondents were very satisfied with the quality of the equipment and 8% satisfied – and quotes from users show how valued the service is.

“It is so good to be able to hire this type of resource / equipment for low prices as we couldn’t any other way.” – PACT (Parents and children together)

“Equipment was great, easy to unpack / pack away, very affordable.” – The Crew Club

In summary we have good cause to feel proud of what the print and hire services have contributed to the city in the year.

Support for priority groups

Our support to groups based in areas of social housing, black and minority ethnic communities and the disabled community continue to be very heavily used. During the year, the service was used 597 times and included

  • advice on areas such as fundraising strategies, writing funding bids and developing constitutions;
  • help with financial matters;
  • training in practical skills such as chairing meetings, book-keeping and computer skills; and
  • the preparation of leaflets and newsletters.

This year we did 257 pre-booked advice sessions. The demand for this service is heavy and growing, and this year we did 45% more sessions than the year before. This reflects the increasing difficulty marginalised groups and their members have in the current climate, and the complexity of many of the problems they face. It is a challenge to meet the growing needs of groups in this area with our current resources and, unfortunately, we therefore often have longer waiting lists for these sessions than we would like.

In addition to the pre-booked advice sessions we carried out 84 Examinations of Accounts, and 256 design, layout and print tasks for our priority groups. Account examinations help build groups’ confidence that their money is being handled properly and give them the tools to report clearly to members and to funders. The design and print service enables groups who are less able to produce their own materials to communicate clearly with their members and the wider public.

Information and Advice on Demand

Groups require a huge range of information in their daily activities. The bulk of it is practical, the answer to problems which arise in their work. Our Information service helps with every aspect of organising, from detailed questions about the responsibilities of a management committee to a straightforward request for details of a funder.

Almost all of our information is now available free-of-charge to groups through our website. The service continues to be used at a very high level, with 537, 160 visits in total, of which 492,084 included views of information pages. This includes more than 7,000 different users from Brighton and Hove .

In 2017-18 we have added a request for donations to our information pages. Although this is entirely voluntary we are beginning to see some income from this, showing that groups value the service.

For local groups we also provide some more in depth drop in advice offered by front desk workers. We did this on 255 occasions during the year. Groups receiving advice will often be provided with relevant information sheets and encouraged to pop-in again or phone the centre if they need follow-up support or have quick questions they need an answer to.

 

Last updated: November 2018