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Alexsan Kopano - Facility Management Series - A Community Service centered approach to Facility Management, cont...
How to go about it?
Whether your objective is to rejuvenate an already existing facility or to establish a brand new one, the following basic principles should apply:

Step 1: Communicate the concept

  • Invite all sections of the community to an open meeting.
  • Introduce them to possible new programmes, services, developments.

At this meeting an artist impression can be shown with a breakdown of the facilities currently being funded.  Discussion could follow on what the facility will be able to provide.  If land is available, seeds can also be planted as to the possibility of the facilities extension.

Step 2: Establish a pilot steering committee to guide the process

  • This committee should consist of local persons that really represent the community, and not just a limited number of interest groups, as well as professional experts.  Depending on the type of project the latter may be experts in the building sector, facilitators, programmes etc.  Provide them all with training in community consultation.
  • Explore what activities / projects will be presented at the facility and develop task teams / sub-committees along these lines.
  • Workshop the assignments and roles of each team allowing community input and feedback of information to them at all stages.

Spend time on this part of your responsibility.  It will deliver fruits in due course.  People will feel that their contributions are valued and this reinforces the sense of ownership of the community.

Step 3: Consult the community

  • With the assistance of the above-mentioned committees, list the various stakeholders, skills and other resources (most vitally: time!) available in the community.  Note the teachers, business people, social workers, local government officials and health workers.  These people could be your most loyal users and supporters.
  • Motivate committee members to walk around the community discussing the new development(s) with people on the street, asking them what they would want, what their concerns are, etc.
  • It really pays to know who your clients are, what they do, what they need (especially in terms of the services rendered by the facility) and how the community is structured (what other organisations are active, what are their strong and weak points).  It will also help you in identifying new committee members and volunteers.

Establish ways the community can help by consulting them.  Some ideas:
  • The community has assets that can be used at a reasonable price because it is part of the community.
  • The community can also offer social support, sweat equity, fees and membership.
  • There can be some bartering for services rendered such as assisting in repairs and maintenance work, where you buy the material and a community member provides the labour in exchange for attending a course you are running.
  • Volunteers may also participate in fund raisers such as jumble or cake sales.
  • A community working together can help keep costs to a minimum.
  • Local government can provide facilities, support and grants.  If they put up the facility and support the basic running costs, the governance structure together with the community can then raise funds for their additional activities.
  • Business will consist of both local and external businesses.  Business will often have staff who work for them residing in your community and the facility can either be an extension of their personnel programme or part of their social responsibility input.  Business sometimes needs to be shown the benefit of becoming involved.  They are often interested in funding fixed assets such as books or a special project to address a specific need.  They generally do not like contributing towards running costs and something they will be tied into year after year.  They might rather provide things like trophies for some of the competitions you may want to run and support some of your sports days.  They would, however, need to have their banners well exposed for publicity purposes.  Local business can also assist in maintaining the facility by your contracting out services / maintenance work to them at preferential rates.
Continue to Step 4

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Page last updated: 05/04/2012 .

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