Skip to main content

Consultancy

Locality provides paid specialist advice, support and resources for community organisations, charities, social enterprises, local authorities, affordable housing providers, funders, and others.

We are mission led, so we only do work which aligns with our ambition for strong and successful community organisations and thriving communities.

If you’re looking for support in any of the areas below get in touch to see how we can help.

You know when you have a problem, an inquiry, or just need to talk there is always someone there to listen, advise, or point you in the right direction.
Locality member

How we can help

Locality provides consultancy support to community organisations (including Locality members), charities, and social enterprises.

We draw on the experience of our 1,600 strong membership of community organisations for inspiration, and the richness and diversity of their activities and experiences has enabled us to develop an in-depth understanding of multiple business sectors operating within different types of community.

Good governance is crucial to ensuring that community organisations are legally run, responsibly led, and effectively managed.

We have expertise in different aspects of governance including:

  • Start up support - for new groups who are looking to choose the best legal structure for them.
  • Support the incorporation process – including creating bespoke company articles, rules, and obtaining charitable status.
  • Integrating democracy within organisational governance including membership.
  • Strengthening operational governance - effective boards that work well with staff, the development of effective policies, and operational management.


A business plan will help you run an effective community organisation. As well as a planning document determining the strategy, direction, and detail of your operations, a business plan is often required by potential funders and investors.

We have experience of all aspects of business planning including:

  • Feasibility studies –helping determine whether your idea is viable and sustainable
  • Financial modelling including budgeting and cash flow forecasting
  • Impact - developing a comprehensive understanding of the impact that the business activity could have, including developing a theory of change or impact map
  • Lifeboat - crisis intervention and business turnaround which can help you to turn around a struggling organisation or business activity with strategies including cost reduction and income diversification

We understand how crucial funding and investment is to you. We have supported a diverse range of organisations to obtain investment through grants, loans, community shares, contracts, and new income streams through trading.

  • Grant funding – Locality works closely with major grant funders including the Lottery. We can support you to develop strong funding bids that give funders what they’re looking for.
  • Loan finance – We have strong relationships with the sector’s specialist loan providers such as Key Fund and Charity Bank. We can support you to effectively pitch for investment.
  • Contract income – We can support you to successfully bid for public sector contracts. This includes both helping you become “procurement ready” and support with bidding for individual contracts.

We are a founding member of the Community Shares Unit and have a number of qualified Community Shares Practitioners amongst our staff.

Community Shares are a form of equity finance that allow the community to buy shares in an organisation. They are often used to help communities acquire a property – e.g. a pub, a shop, or housing. We can help you to develop your community share offer.

Locality are the leading national experts on community assets. We can connect you with other community organisations who are managing similar spaces.

We help communities own and manage land and buildings including community centres, as well as local spaces like shops, libraries, swimming pools, pubs, green spaces and more, protecting them for future generations. Community ownership helps places thrive and creates long-term resilience for community organisations.

Our services in this area include:

  • Community Rights to Bid (Assets of Community Value) - Helping community organisations exercise their legal powers to safeguard valued community assets
  • Business Planning for Community Assets – supporting plans which incorporate both capital and revenue phases, and ensuring resilient business models which are not reliant upon revenue grants
  • Negotiating Community Assets Transfer from local authorities and others, including advising on the freehold and leasehold transfers

Through effective collaboration, communities can better challenge, influence, and participate in local decision-making and service delivery.

Our experience includes working on the following:

  • Relationship building and networking – This can take the form of sharing information, lobbying or campaigning activities, mutual support, and organisations learning from each other
  • Efficiencies – including collaborative purchasing arrangements (e.g. admin supplies or energy), sharing the same buildings and spaces
  • Consortia - This could include responding to tendered public sector contracts and large grant funding opportunities which encourage a partnership approach
  • Mergers – where two or more organisations legally merge their assets and operations

Locality supports community engagement in three main areas:

  • Conducting short term engagement exercises on specific schemes, programmes, or projects. This includes online and offline engagement methods.
  • Supporting you to develop the skills to carry out effective community engagement exercises independently
  • Embedding community engagement practices as a whole organisational approach (e.g. organisational membership, ongoing engagement processes)

Locality advocates a blended approach to community engagement. This includes various tools including, sophisticated online engagement tools for high-volume responses, surveys (online and offline), resident interviews, focus groups, visioning days, and community drop in days.

This blended approach will help you reach marginalised and underrepresented parts of your community.

We can help you measure the impact of your services on your users and community.

This will help you evidence the difference you make to funders and investors.

We help create bespoke social impact measurement systems. These include the following features:

  • Developing your Theory of change to explain how your activities lead to specific social, economic, or environmental impact.
  • Collecting and collating impact information on an ongoing basis rather than attempting to gather information at the end of a year.
  • Ensuring that impact reporting ties to organisational objectives. Our impact report will tell you how well you’re delivering on your mission.
  • Recognising the value of both quantitative and qualitative data. This enables the demonstration of both a volume of activity and a depth of information.
  • Understanding whole organisational impact as well as impact upon individual service users.
  • Showcasing your impact in an accessible way using infographics and case studies.

Locality is a founding partner of the national support programme Community Led Homes. We have advisors around the country who have experience working with community organisations on a range of community-led housing projects.

We have extensive experience of working with communities facing different housing challenges. This includes supporting organisations to create affordable housing in rural areas with high property values, as well as addressing condition and management quality issues in disadvantaged urban areas.

We have supported schemes involving self-help housing, co-housing, new build, and conversion projects. We have experience at every stage - from the ideas stage, incorporating a new organisation; right through to securing investment and starting on site.

We can support your community-led housing group at every stage of the process:

  • Supporting organisations to incorporate including establishing new housing subsidiaries linked to existing community organisations
  • Undertaking feasibility and business planning including detailed finance modelling
  • Supporting the process of becoming a Registered Provider of Social Housing and Homes England Investment Partner, enabling organisations to draw on Homes England Capital Grants
  • Supporting access to complex blends of investment finance, including combinations of grant, loan finance, community share capital, as well as discounted land and property through asset transfers from local authorities and other resources.
  • Supporting specialist housing including extra care housing developments for the homeless, addiction recovery, domestic abuse survivors, and young people

Effective marketing and communications is crucial to helping community organisations engage with communities, reach new markets, and demonstrate impact.

We provide advice in the following areas:

  • Marketing strategy - We will help you develop your brand and messaging, understand your audiences, and choose relevant communication channels·
  • Branding advice and guidelines - It is vital that your audience understands what you do and stand for. From website to key messages, we will help you to develop clear and consistent brand guidelines.
  • Website – your website is often your first point of contact. We can support improvements to an existing site or advise on the creation of new sites.
  • Social media - We can help select the most suitable platform for your audience and grow your online community.

I feel that Locality is approachable, easy to access and local Locality reps are extremely well organised, connected to us and understand the organisation and our community.

Locality member

Over the years Locality has become the first point of call for advice, help and support.

Locality member

How we can help

Locality provides support to Local Authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups, grant funders, social investors, and many other institutions which are pivotal in supporting community organisations. Contact us to find out if we can help you.


Examples include:

• Administering the national Neighbourhood Planning programme on behalf of Government, with over £30 million grant and support made between 2018 – 2022 to enable the development of neighbourhood plans or neighbourhood development orders.

• Delivering the Place Based Social Action programme on behalf of Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Community Fund.

•Providing support to community organisations in experiencing crisis for funders such as Sport England, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Power to Change, and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

• Managing grant funded programmes supported by Community Fund and Sport England focussing upon community organisations led by, or serving the needs of, individuals from racialised communities and other underepresented organisations.

• Research and publication creation for Power to Change and Local Trust including the Community Hub Handbook.


Local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups, and other service providers are dealing with unprecedented demand coupled with reductions in funding.

Locality can help service providers explore more effective and efficient ways of delivering their services in partnership with community organisations. We have experience in local service transformation and provide support in areas including:

  • Innovations in commissioning and procurement - We can help you develop new and creative approaches to commissioning and procurement including co-design approaches and innovative forms of contracting.

Transferring assets to the community can transform them into spaces where everyone belongs and where lives are transformed. Buildings become revitalised, and new essential services are created that enable communities to thrive.

Locality is recognised as the leading national authority on Community Asset Transfer. We can help with:

Strategy, policy, and procedures – we’ve helped many local authorities develop effective strategies and fair, transparent processes for transferring assets. We have model strategy documents, business plans, application processes, leases, and guidance for local groups and councils.

Support for community organisations - many local authorities and funders have commissioned us to support local community organisations, to ensure any asset transfer will be viable long-term. We can help with everything from creating legal structures and revenue development to community engagement and measuring impact.

Levering grant and investment – we have a track record of helping attract major investment into community assets, such as grants, loan finance and even community shares.

Community hubs - we have substantial experience helping develop large multi-purpose community assets, with multiple interrelated business units and sources of income.

We have worked with many commissioners, funders, and others to design and deliver local funding and investment. We’ve designed funding schemes that help start-ups, or increase the capacity of existing community organisations, or focus on specific challenges such as health inequalities, skill gaps, or vulnerable families.

And we’ve developed programmes that focus on helping marginalised groups such as organisations led by, or responding to the needs of, racialised communities.

We can hold and distribute grant funding directly or we can design the infrastructure which would enable you to do this. We can help with:

  • Programme design including applications portals, pro forma, guidance materials, application assessment processes
  • Pre-application training and workshops for potential applicants, as well as one-to-one advice and support
  • Managing financial transactions associated with making grant awards
  • For successful applicants, monitoring progress including reporting on spend and impact.

We help local groups create new and affordable homes, and bring empty homes back into use, to meet local needs. Community-led housing projects are usually developed by or partnership with a community organisation, and the local community builds, owns, and manages or stewards the homes in a manner of their choosing.

Our advisors across the country have extensive experience working on community-led housing and community ownership projects – so commissioning Locality will give your project the best chance of success. We’ve worked with everyone from very small schemes to those building some of the biggest, most ambitious community housing projects in Europe.

• We offer bespoke support for community-led housing groups at all stages, including choosing a legal structure, establishing financial viability, and developing detailed business plans including complex financial information.

• We can help organisations become Registered Providers of Social Housing so they can access large amounts of capital grant to build new affordable housing.

• We have helped local authorities bring underutilised land and property back into use by transferring ownership to community led housing groups.

We have a strong track record in evaluating projects and programmes, and showing the impact that community organisations can make, across health and wellbeing, youth services, business support programmes, and family support schemes. This includes:

• Data analysis and interpretation, including output, outcome, and broader impact data, including performance against baseline data.

• Research and literature reviews including developing an understanding of the national and local context.

• Obtaining qualitative data from business process mapping, project observations, and policy/ process reviews - crucial to identifying underpinning programme mechanics and mechanisms of change.

• Using semi-structured interviews and workshops to obtain in-depth information to support recommendations for improvements

• Use of analytical tools such as Cost Benefit Analysis to identify the monetary value of impact delivered, including savings in public spending.

• Producing comprehensive and accessible impact and evaluation reports, including insightful recommendations to support decisions about future ways of working.

• Utilising the results of evaluation to inform the development of effective social impact frameworks which can be essential in justifying the continuation of funding.

Locality supports community engagement in three main areas:

  • Time limited engagement exercises generally focussed upon a specific development, regeneration programme, or project (engaging over 2,500 people in some cases)
  • Supporting to deliver your own community engagement exercises and building your capacity in this area
  • Embedding community engagement processes within service delivery on a permanent basis, achieving both practical and cultural change

Locality practices a blended approach to community engagement, which maximises the richness of information obtained:

  • Utilising sophisticated online engagement tools designed for high volumes of responses. This includes using interactive maps and surveys
  • Resident interviews (one to one or one to many) – face to face, telephone, or web conferencing technology
  • On-street surveys, often accompanied by exhibition materials• Focus groups - both online and offline, to generate discussion between people to create a greater depth of information
  • Community drop-in days held at local venues
  • Visioning days – used to support the creation of a vision for a community including themes and different project ideas

FAQs

  • Can you fund our project?

    Currently our funding programme is Neighbourhood planning. Outside of this programme we aren’t generally able to help you with funding.

    Visit our My Community website to find out more about funding available.

  • How much does consultancy cost?

    This can vary depending on the project and your organisation’s needs. Please contact us to discuss and we can give you a quote.

  • Who will provide the support?

    Locality works nationally but is local in its approach. We have staff based across the country who have in-depth knowledge of the local operating environment including relationships with local authorities and community organisations.

  • What makes you different to standard private sector consultants?

    Locality staff draw from the experience of over 1,600 community organisations, through our membership programme. Our staff have supported organisations delivering a wide range of activities including affordable housing, childcare, managed workspace, adult education and many others.

You’re in good company

We’ve worked with a whole range of different organisations. See who we’ve helped