Project Type: Strategy
Region: Scotland
Partner: The Robertson Trust
After 50 years, St Mungo’s Old Folks Centre for Wellbeing, needed fresh thinking to sustain it for the next 50. The business plan we helped create has been rejuvenating.

A million lunches! That’s how many have been served in St Mungo’s Old Folks Centre for Wellbeing since it first opened its doors in the Townhead area of Glasgow in October 1963. There were 260 people queuing outside that morning, when it became the first full-time day centre for older people in West Scotland. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, St Mungo’s offers warm and welcoming support for isolated elderly residents, providing a lifeline that allows many to remain independent in their own home.

However, rapidly changing health and social care policy and declining public funding was affecting the charity’s viability. Thanks to an introduction from our partners, Scottish grant-making body The Robertson Trust, Gerry Healy, Secretary of St Mungo’s, was put in touch with Jane Whitworth, Scotland Project Manager at The Cranfield Trust. Gerry recognised that he would benefit from help in articulating the value of the service and identifying new opportunities in this changing landscape.

Jane discussed with Gerry what tailored programme of support would be most useful to move the charity forward.  She then identified the best volunteer for the role. Step forward Ruth Walker. Currently running her own company, Ruth has over 20 years’ experience in the public sector, specialising in strategy development, customer relationship management and innovation, marketing and public affairs.  She also has a long history of volunteering with charities, including four with The Cranfield Trust. Since Ruth specialises in mentoring, strategy, leadership development and fundraising, Jane spotted the clear fit.

St Mungo's Old Folks Centre celebrate ChristmasAfter getting to know the issues, Ruth identified that there were some tough choices to make. This was unwelcome news, but Gerry recognised that standing still was not an option. Ruth applied her commercial experience and worked with Gerry to develop a good and workable business plan to sustain the organisation. Establishing a warm rapport was critical, as the culture of the charity and need to adopt key business principles were not natural bedfellows. Ruth and Gerry were also able to draw on Jane’s support, as Project Manager, providing advice, encouragement and guidance and the Trust’s knowledge of the sector.

Ruth says that St Mungo’s is “an outstanding charity.  The work they’ve done for older people over five decades is absolutely inspiring. I’m so pleased to have played a part in its future sustainability.” 

The new plan is both practical and realistic. It has already been used to present a business case for funding applications and also to help reporting back to funders against key outcomes. New doors are opening as a result.

Gerry was delighted with the project saying “Ruth's support has been invaluable. There is no way we could have bought in this kind of expertise. Thank you so much to Ruth and The Cranfield Trust – We hope to be here in another 50 years!”

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