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The St Judes under 13 rugby team cluster around their coach, on the rugby pitch

Maximising your facilities

Owning your own facilities can really benefit your group, and the local community. But the costs are often hard to bear.

Here, we explore how you can make money from your facilities. 

Plus there's inspiration in the form of Wigan St Judes ARLFC, who are pictured here. This is an amazing rugby club, at the heart of their local community, whose motto is 'Going forward'... 

Benefits of sharing your facilities

When your facilities aren’t in use, doesn't it make sense to share them?

Doing so can: 

  • Raise your organisation’s profile. 
  • Provide new income streams. 
  • Benefit more people's physical and mental health. 
  • Forge stronger links with the community. 
  • Support social prescribing
  • Raise awareness of your group. 
  • Increase the money you make from your bar, café, or vending machine. 
  • Create long lasting partnerships. 
  • Encourage new participants, members, volunteers, and sponsors to interact with your organisation. 

What's right for your group?

If you decide to open your doors, it’s important to do so in a way that suits your organisation, ensures the safety of your people, and the security of your group.

Here are some important things to consider in the planning stages: 

  • What do you want to achieve from broadening the use of your facilities? 
  • Are you comfortable hiring out all of your facilities, or just specific areas? 
  • What sports and activities can be safely accommodated? 
  • Are there any types of organisations or uses that you'd prefer?
  • Any uses that you wouldn’t consider and why? 
  • When are the facilities available? 
  • Do you have any free space that you can adapt or develop? 
  • Which groups are likely to want to use your facilities? 
  • Are there any restrictions in the terms and conditions of your lease, licences, usage agreement, planning permissions, and/or landlord permissions that you need to consider or apply to change? 
  • Are there any usage, insurance, licensing, or health and safety implications? 

Hiring out spaces

You'll need to check the type of tenure you have on your site. Then if you're able to, you could look at hiring out your space when it's not in use. 

This is a great way to generate extra income and connect you with other local people.

You could explore renting the space to others in your area for them to: 

  • Run activities.  
  • Store equipment - for example, a running club may want somewhere to use as a base and to store their marshalling equipment. 
  • Host events such as parties, award ceremonies or meetings. 
  • Hold other community events. 


Case study: Portico Vine ARLFC

The rugby team at Portico Vine, in their green and yellow strip, are running on the rugby pitch

Portico Vine ARFLC in St Helen's, Merseyside, built themselves a new club house in May 2022.

They set out to share it with their local community and this strategy has been very successful.

The venue is now well used for activities including brass band rehearsals and cost of living events.  

Can you make money from catering?

If you have a kitchen, which you aren’t fully using, you could consider upscaling your catering. Your group might like this. It's also a great way to engage your local community. 

Case study: Black Prince Trust

Alex from the Black Prince Trust stands in the kitchen, behind huge boxes of apples, with his thumbs up

The Black Prince Trust is a not-for-profit charity in South London, offering a range of activities for the local community, including football, basketball and boxing.

They maximised their café and kitchen space through a social enterprise collaboration with the Felix Project.

Their initiatives have led to a closer, more mutually supportive relationship with the community that they serve. 

Encouraging use by the local community

Maybe you could allow members of the public to book your venue when it's free?

This could be good for the community... and help your group's bank balance too.

You could also consider running different types of activities for locals, either on a drop-in or block booking basis.

Adapting any free space

If you have any extra space, can it be repurposed?

Maybe you could create a storage area or develop a community meeting space.

Or could you use the space to diversify what you offer and introduce brand-new activities for your members?

Being creative about your space can help your group evolve and grow. It could also create exciting activities for your group and attract new members. 

Case study: Wigan St Judes ARLFC

A young man in St Judes U16 rugby team charges forward - an opponent grabs at his legs but that won't stop him

Wigan St Judes ARLFC is a Rugby League club. They've also transformed themselves into a vibrant, community-focused activity hub.

This has been partly achieved by maximising the use of their facilities. In this video, their coaches, volunteers, and participants tell us how and why they have gone beyond rugby to encourage the local community to join in with a variety of activities on offer. 

The club developed an onsite assault course on some underused land. The course is great for training and also much loved by schools, other organisations, and local people. This has helped the club to become more sustainable. 

Top tips from Wigan St Judes

Run your organisation like a business
Think about your community
Keep it interesting for people

Find out how this inspirational group transformed their club - and the local community,