south tyneside logoCan Do Communities have been supporting South Tyneside Council and a number of charitable organisations that manage and run valuable Community Centres in the area with exploration of Community Asset Transfer. With deep spending cuts biting most local authorities around the UK the authority have been working hard in giving capable charitable groups the best chance of successfully taking over their community building on a long term lease agreement. CDC working with other partners have been working with the groups in question and  the LA in providing; capacity building, sourcing Capital & Revenue funding, Business Planning, Building Surveys, Organisational Health Checks, Developing new income streams, Crowdfunding & Community Consultation.

If you are a community organisation or a Local Authority that requires assistance with Community Asset Transfer then please contact us at or call 01733 200906 


Manchester City Council have been working in partnership with Can Do Communities since 2013 working on the smooth implementation of their Asset Transfer Strategy. MCC devised an initial priority list of Assets that could be assessed under the Asset transfer process.

CDC is taking around 20 Manchester based charitable groups through a capacity building process which includes the  organisations receiving a combination of the following; Legal Advice, Building Survey’s, Organisational Health Check, Benchmarking Visits, Governance & Assets Workshops, Finance Training, Community Consultation, Policies & Procedures & Funding Guidance.

The charitable organisations have been applying to the Community Rights Funding programme that is funding from DCLG with the aim of building their internal capacity and exploring the viability of Asset transfer.

CDC are taking through an increasing number of groups through this process, whilst utilising the excellent Community Rights funding programme and  working with valuable local associates.

for more information call 01733 200906

Peterborough City Council Asset Transfer Programme

Early 2013 Peterborough City Council made the difficult decision to cut play provision for young children due to a budget deficit. Can Do Communities worked with PCC to explore the next best ‘plan B’ for communities and attempt to keep at least some of the eight play centre venues open and available for Community use. CDC were commissioned to run Asset Transfer Workshops in each of the neighbourhoods affected by the cuts, these workshops were used to create awareness of the opportunities for charitable groups to explore Asset Transfer and the resource and plans needed to carry out such a building management project.

Update 7/7/13, eight Asset Transfer Workshops delivered, seven charitable organisations are working towards exploring the chance of taking on the building affected in their neighbourhood. CDC are assisting the orgs to access government funding to be used in the Pre Feasibility part of these projects, if successful the orgs will be able to fund all of the crucial components needed to explore Asset Transfer to see if the projects are workable financially and sustainable IE Business Planning, Health Checks, Benchmarking Visits, Incorporation, Legal Advice, Building Condition Survey’s etc.

Update 9/2/14, 4 former play centres progressing exploration of Asset Transfer with Peterborough City Council, Legal Workshop facilitated by Can Do Communities. Some of the centres already have regular bookings and anchor tenants, Leases could be signed by summer 2014.

Update 23/6/15, 4 centres completed Asset Transfer Successfully, new programme of capacity building and CAT exploration with a number of other centres for 2015/16.

Community Health Check Programme

Can Do Communities joined forces with Stevenage CVS in 2012 to roll out a programme of Community Health Checks for Community Organisations and groups of all sizes in Stevenage. The programme which gave 10 Community led Organisations a Business Health Check was funded by the Big Lottery ‘Awards for All’ programme.

Ann Jansz the Chief Exec of Stevenage CVS commented,’ In challenging financial times its important for organisations such as ourselves to work in partnership with people like Can Do Communities to give the best possible support and to assist in their planning towards a more sustainable future’

Marvin Symes, Co Founder & Director of Can Do Communities said ‘ Increasingly we are developing relationships with CVS type organisations and Local Authorities in delivering the Community Health Check as statutory support is decreasing in many areas we feel its crucial that Not for profits like us, working in tandem with local infrastructure support, fill the gap and enable the support for Community Groups to continue’

The Community Health Check is a 3 hour Interactive Business Review for Community Groups/ Orgs of all sizes and produces on the day visual indicators of development needs and guidance on where to go to find solutions to needs.

The result of the Programme will be that Ten Community Organisations  will have a recorded portfolio of information that can be used to start a more detailed Business Plan, be used in a funding bid or if shared with local support agencies can provide quality information to identify common areas of need. (Please see Community Health Check section on this website for full detail and benefits)

For more information please check our Community Health Check section on this website or call 01733 200906.

Just to let you know that we found this a brilliant exercise – making everyone look objectively at the Scheme in considered and cohesive detail.  Well worth doing – I would recommend it to any organisation”

Faye Lloyd, Centre Manager, Stevenage Furniture Recycling Scheme.


“Sixteen of our Community Centres received a Health Check thanks to a succesful bid from us to the Awards for All fund, as a federation we can now examine the results and common areas of need have been flagged up, the Can Do team also have made recommendations and suggested solutions to the issues the groups face, we were delighted with the face to face conversational sessions, it was an enjoyable format watching the results displayed on the big screen”

Ray Baker, Chairman, Community Action Peterborough.


“At Stevenage CVS we were successful with an Awards for All grant, we commissioned ‘Can Do Communities’ to Health Check 10 of our Community Groups, it has enabled us to offer unbiased third party support and expertise to the capacity building and strategic planning locally. It has meant that a relatively small body such as ourselves can extend our reach and offer this key support at very low cost (thanks to Lottery funding) to our members”

Ann Jansz, Chief Executive, Stevenage CVS


“Excellent, I thought it was a really good process, very easy to use, very helpful guys who came and took the session, they made it very relaxed so people felt able to speak their minds”

Elaine Connolly, Irish Network.


As a result of the recommendations made after our Community Health Check we have set up sub groups to lead on Communication, Funding and Planning. Our new Communications Group then presented our Sustainability Plan to local agencies and our Planning Team are leading the collection of evidence for a Quality Mark, all as a result of the Health Check recommendations.”

Patrick Kadaware, Chair, Huntingdon Community Group.


We approached Can Do Communities to undertake a Health Check on our organisation to enable a smooth transition from voluntary group to registered charity. A number of areas were identified during the health check that needed focussed development. This process enabled us to access legal support and guidance that moved the process through very quickly.”

Mick Oliver, CARTS Youth Charity.


“The Community Health check covers all the areas that Community Matters feel are important for community groups to regularly review, and the results should help them plan their future with confidence.”

Richard Bridge, Head Of Consultancy, Community Matters- National Federation of Community Groups.


Inspiring Change in Norfolk

As part of Voluntary Norfolk’s project Can Do Communities are currently delivering a number of our Community Health Checks for Community groups and Organisations across Norfolk.


Transforming the Community in Peterborough

Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services  have been successful in a Big Lottery Bid to provide a range of Community Development services including kick starting Social Enterprises in Peterborough. As part of this capacity building offfer for the future Can Do Communities are facilitating a number of our Community Health Checks to provide a baseline of information on groups in the areas and to enabe them to plan for the future in a business sense. We have previously delivered Sixteen Health Checks for Community Groups as apart of a Big Lottery funded project headed by Community Action Peterborough.



Inspirational Boxing Tour to New York City


8 lads……..9 days……..3000 miles…….1 world famous gym……. Can Do Communities in partnership with the Sutton Community Development team have returned from an inspirational trip to New York City.

CDC have been part of a brilliant community project, assisting with developing a group of young boxers (aged 13-16 deemed at risk of offending), some from the traveller community in East Cambridgeshire. The aim of the programme was to combine an inspirational trip to New YorkCity with an educational programme to spur the group on to achieving their goals in life.

Can Do were invited to develop the cultural and educational part of this sporting programme. CDC’ lead trainer Victor Evelyn (Ex British Martial Arts Champion) delivered ‘Ambition Development’sessions where the group examined their goals in life, what brings happiness, how to focus the mind and achieve your goals. At the end of the trip CDC facilitated an evaluation session where the group made video diaries of the trip and checked their progress against the goals they set themselves.

It is hoped that the combination of a ‘Once in A Lifetime’ visit to world class sporting facilities and working with top coaches will inspire the group to make the most of their talent and achieve the goals in life that they set for themselves.

This trip to America was a reward for the young boxers who had been attending the Group of Boys Boxing club in Sutton (East Cambs) on a regular basis. The boys were a part of the GOBB project started in 2008, GOBB is a 10 week curricular time programme, where young people undertake specific boxing sessions along with accredited courses such as the Sports Leader Award (CSLA). The first pilot evaluations demonstrated a complete change in behaviour, and prior to the programme school attendance levels were less than 14% and are now over 80%!

For further details on this exciting programme please contact Marvin Symes 07910 276193


Once In A Lifetime , Cambridgeshire

Can Do Communities managed a community project called ‘Once In A Lifetime’ which upskilled unemployed and low skilled people from across Cambridgshire and supported them by using specifically Arts & Sports related activities into further learning, volunteering and in some cases employment.

The name of the project was inspired by the London 2012 Olympic Games. The project ran many capacity building trips to see the Olympic Village in progress as a first step ‘carrot’ attracting participants onto the project.

CDC assisted CP Learning Trust in writing the bid for the coveted Inspire Mark and we were delighted to be awarded the mark that rewards charitable projects that are using the inspiration of the games to inspire people into positive development.

The Co Founders of CDC got lucky when filming at the Stratford (site of the London 2012 village) for the project They were filming some general footage of the Olympic stadium for a promotional film clip when there was a commotion and no other than Lord Coe (Chief Exec of London 2012) and his entourage appeared carrying out various media interviews right in front of them. Marvin & Graham not know for their shyness chanced their luck and asked for a quick interview, fair play to Lord Coe, the man from Chiswick he says YES!- see link to you tube interview when reading more…

Lord Coe Interview on You Tube December 2010 about the Inspire Marked ‘Once in a lifetime project’ that Can Do Communities are facilitating on behalf of CP Learning Trust.

To find out more about the excellent work of the CP Learning Trust please view:

NB )* Once in a lifetime was a project funded by EEDA, Greater Cambs Partnership & Cambs County Council, the delivering body is CP Learning Trust

The Once In A Lifetime Project was completed 31/3/2011


Windmill Estate, Fulbourn


Can Do Communities worked with social housing providers- Accent Nene on a nine month intensive community development programme to support their community strategy programme for tenants.

The programme included: Tenant participation, wider village participation, Good Neighbour Scheme, Learning & Development activities, Investment Fund run by local people, Community Facilitators network and much more. For more information on the project please contact Marvin Symes, Can Do Communities/ Operations Manager, on 07910 276193

Marsh Farm Outreach, Luton


Back in 2000, the newly formed Marsh Farm Community Development Trust (MFCDT) – a coalition of residents, service providers and the council – became one of 39 of the most deprived communities to win £50m regeneration funding from the government’s NDC.

Part of the areas regeneration plans involve development of a multi-functional community hub, mooted in the original development plan, with community services, business centre and social space. It will also contain a series of social enterprises, known as the Organisation Workshop, which aims to start up several community businesses – including an MOT centre, indoor children’s play park, and a builders’ cooperative.

The workshop is a response to research from the New Economics Foundation, which revealed that, in the UK, if just 10% of annual spending on everyday public services was redirected to services delivered locally by local people and businesses, the equivalent of 15 times total annual regeneration spend would go directly into those communities.

Can Do Communities worked with the community outreach team and provided community development and financial guidance -For more information on the project please contact Graham Bird, Can Do Communities/ Projects Manager, on 0787 6611183

Marsh Farm Community Development Trust website link


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