Can Do Communities is a ‘more than profit’ Community Interest Company (registration No. 6719137). We provide a wide range of Community Development support & expertise on a Consultancy basis to everyone in communities including; Housing Associations, Council for Voluntary Services, Local Authorities, Individuals, Community Groups and Social Enterprises.

We specialise in supporting people or organisations in the following areas: Business Planning, Governance, Asset Transfer Exploration,Organisational Capacity Building, Project Management, Localism Bill, Legal Advice and how to manage Community Buildings successfully.

We use any profits we make to support people and Community Groups across the UK, enabling them to look forward and plan with confidence , our Assets are also locked into the Communities we work with.

Can Do Communities also works to assist individuals with personal development and bring about collaboration amongst providers and regeneration of areas in need of community development. We work with anyone in the Public, Private and Third sector that will help us achieve our goals. Can Do Communities operates in areas where it can add value across the whole of the United Kingdom and often in tandem with local providers.

We have an excellent team of Community Development Consultants & Training professionals with vast experience in delivering activites, managing projects and delivering support & training, not just in the UK but around the world!

CDC have been involved in a number of sucessful projects across including an Ambition Development programme in New York City & an Olympic themed project supporting people into Employment & Volunteering through Sports & Arts activities. In 2014 we are heavily involved in assisting groups with exploring Asset Transfer, we assist them in accessing government funding to build their capacity and help them assess whether the building or land they are considering managing or owning ( from the council) is feasible.

How it all started

In September 2008 Marvin Symes  and Graham Bird came up with the idea of forming a new Community Interest Company, they recognised a gap in support in the Voluntary Sector whereby there was many large national infrastructure support charitable organisations, however these often are based in major cities and do not always effectively have the regional outreach that is needed by the smaller groups in our communities.

Utilising a pool of Community Development professionals based around the regions We assist “can do” people and provide nationwide Community Development Support Services that can be tailor-made to our customer’s requirements. We have a network of Trainers and Development Workers who also have a wide range of commercial and community based experience.

The Team

Graham Bird (Director & Co Founder)

Graham is based in Luton and  trained as an Accountant. For the first part of his career he was employed as a Cost and Management Accountant for various organisations. On being made redundant at the age of 35, he worked as a sole trader specialising in computer installations and staff training for small to medium sized companies at the same time as giving accountancy support to larger organisations .He enjoys travel, especially to less popular destinations and also participates in amateur productions of Musical Theatre. Graham plays a pivotal role in CDC and is responsible for co- creating our major services and spends a great deal of time writing the Community Health Check Reports for Community Groups.

Marvin Symes (Director & Co Founder)

Marvin Co Founded Can Do Communities in 2008 following redundancy when the Scarman Trust merged to become Novas Scarman Group. He is from a training background and has designed, delivered and managed training for Royal Mail and the British Police Force. In the early 90s he spent two years travelling Australia as a backpacker. When he returned to the UK he wrote the successful mail order booklet ‘Oz Here We Go’ – a travellers guide to Australia. The book was sanctioned by the Australian Embassy and promoted through Consyl Publishing as well as winning a Prince’s Trust Award in 1994 for best new business. Marvin has worked for various Charities & Community Groups, including being East Region Coordinator for  Since co- creating CDC Marvin has assisted in developing new successful Community Development products such as Circus Skills Consultation, Community Health Checks & Community Reporters. Marvin alongside the other Co- founder Graham has delivered over 350 Organisational Health Checks to charitable groups of all sizes. Marvin is also a freelance adviser with the Plunkett Foundation, working  on the ‘more than a pub’ programme, assisting communities to explore the feasibility of saving local pubs.

Tom Hickson (Director of Strategic Operations)

Tom is based in Wigan and is a former Local Authority Manager in East Cambridgeshire, Tom has a wealth of knowledge specifically in the areas of Sport in the Community, Social Care and the workings of Local Authorities.

Jonathan Dawson (Qualified Solicitor)

Jonathan Dawson Jonathan is a freelance consultant in the voluntary and community sector advising on organisational structures and constitutional matters, landlord and tenant law, asset transfer, data protection law and employment contracts. He has been a solicitor for over 30 years, formerly a partner in a major firm of solicitors, now practising on his own account. Jonathan is Honorary Legal Adviser to Community Matters (National Federation of Community Organisations) and ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) and the editor of ‘Occupying Community Premises. Guidelines for Community Associations and Local Authorities’ 2nd edition (2005) published by Community Matters.


Sarah Bishton (Community Development Consultant)

Sarah’s background is firmly rooted in the public and charitable sector. Sarah was previously a case officer for the Charity Commission undertaking case work in the field of charity law, governance and risk management for over five years. Sarah also managed the Charity Commission’s contact centre and provided training and technical support. Sarah is a qualified trainer and holds qualifications in community work skills. Sarah was previously Consultancy and Training Manager for Community Matters and is now a freelance consultant/trainer.


Vicky Mason (Community Reporter Trainer)

Vicky designs & delivers Community Reporter Training, which is all about giving local people the skills in areas such as Social Media, Communication and Reporting. Community Reporting can be a great way to engage in a fun way with other people in your community and also for the participant if they take part in the training, it can in some cases lead to employment.

Guardian Surveyors

CDC are delighted to announce our partnership with Guardian Surveyors. We shall be working  in tandem with the organisation on many of our Community Building projects where they will be completing Building Surveys for some of our customers.






Our Mission: To be a major capacity building provider for the Third Sector in the UK.

Our Ethos : The organisation is ‘a charitable business with primarily social objectives where the profits are reinvested for that purpose’.

  1.  We Find, fund and support can doers who can draw upon local resources and inspire action.
  2. We Health Check Community Groups and Organisations, which enables them to plan for their sustainable future
  3. We assist groups in setting up Community Reporter projects, which can be an extremely effective Communication and Marketing tool
  4. We encourage Community Groups to realise the wealth of FREE support that is available by building better relationships in their local area
  5. Can Do Communities re-invests any profits back into the communities it serves
  6. Assist communities to become self sustainable by offering a range of community based training courses aimed at developing the expertise and confidence of the members of the community
  7. Work with agencies in developing their community capacity and develop innovative community development solutions to their projects
  8. Engage the different agencies and authorities that hold power and support them to make a bigger difference in the communities they serve
  9. Maintain a high grade for our support services, assessed through self-assessment and customer feedback
  10. Market effectively to all key stakeholders, strategic bodies and funding agencies the ‘Can Do’ method of community development by Can Do Communities


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