Towards a business plan

Towards a business plan

The aim of the St Stephen’s Project, once repair and refurbishment of the building is complete, is to provide support to a wide range of charities and community groups in the centre of Exeter. The focus of the project is on the use others can make of the space made available in the building. Evidence of recent use indicates that there is significant demand for this type of provision. The Project is not expected to create income for itself but to provide the resources and opportunity for other charities and community groups to do so. This role, as such, does not fit the usual model of a business plan but fits the expected role of a church which is situated in the heart of a thriving and re-generated city centre.

St Stephen’s is a working medieval church in a prime location in the centre of the City of Exeter. It is intended that its function as a church will continue but, taking advantage of its central location, the building is also being widely shared with others to provide an important resource for the community. In the case of St Stephen’s, its central location means that the community is not just related to the city centre but to the whole of the city and beyond. For this shared use to take place, a building designed and furnished for flexible use is required. The size of the building (which can hold a seated congregation/audience of about 100) makes it particularly suitable for charitable events, concerts by instrumental ensembles and choirs, talks, limited theatrical presentations and small scale exhibitions.

The guiding principle for use of the building is that its sharing is limited to charitable and community organisations and that income generated from events taking place in the building are for the charity or community group involved. If professional artists take part, the income raised must go to a charitable or local community cause. Purely commercial activities are specifically excluded.

There are many organisations, local and national, which draw from and also provide for communities as part of their function. Many of these, though not all, are established and successful registered charities in their own right. A central High Street location, such as St Stephen’s provides these organisations with a much needed opportunity to promote their cause, engage with the public and deliver some of their services. It is not proposed to create yet another charity seeking to do what others already do well. However it is appropriate that St Stephen’s should be available to such groups and that the building should be managed in a such a way that what it provides meets the needs of these organisations in a modern, safe and well-ordered environment which is publicly visible and easily accessed.

While raising no income for itself, and based on the experience of recent years, the charities helped by the St Stephen’s Project are expected to raise in total about £45,000 each year for their own causes. See the list of charities and local groups (page 7) benefiting from this opportunity in the most recent full year.

Estimated amount raised by charities using St Stephen’s each year: £45,000

Estimated total annual cost to run the St Stephen’s Project: £7,510

Estimated total annual income received to run the Project: £7,800

Project estimated annual costs


Weekday facilities & upkeep (1) 3,258
Weekday administration (2) 3,000
Contingencies (3)


Estimated total weekday annual cost


Project estimated annual income


Half-day bookings x 110 @ £50 (4) 5,500
Meeting bookings x 50 @ £20 (5) 1,000
From charity concerts x 5 @ £80 (6) 400
Project organised concerts x 3 @ £300 (7) 900

Estimated total weekday annual income


Estimated annual sum raised by charities
using St Stephen’s Church



  1. Costs include heating, lighting, water, caretaking, insurance.

  2. Includes management (6 hours per week) and office costs.

  3. Owing to the variability of income, a contingency of 20% is required.

  4. Each coffee morning/sale of work etc. raises on average between £300 and £700 for the charity concerned.

  5. This is a conservative estimate. Two groups hold support meetings weekly throughout the year for which donations of smaller amounts are acceptable.

  6. For charity run concerts. The average income to the charity is estimated as £250 after costs have been met. The number of these concerts is expected to increase.

  7. Project run concerts. The number and income received is a crude estimate. During the repair and refurbishment of St Stephen’s frequent fund-raising concerts and events are being staged.

  8. The estimated 110 coffee mornings etc. together raise £44,000 (110 X £400); concerts etc. raise a further £1,250 (5 x £250) for the community groups involved.