Alt Valley Community Trust, Liverpool
It’s difficult for us to consolidate,’ says Phil Knibb, executive
director of Alt Valley Community Trust (AVCT) in Liverpool. ‘We’re all
about creating employment, and that means taking opportunities when
Given the rapid growth of AVCT, there’s clearly been no shortage of opportunities. Located in an economically deprived area of north east Liverpool, the trust and its sister organisations, the Neighbourhood Services Company (NSC) and Neighbourhood Services Company Training, have developed a range of training courses and job opportunities through its innovative learning project, Communiversity.
Housed in a former old people’s home, this community-based training facility offers a broad curriculum, including IT, construction, digital design, and mechanics.
In 2002, rapid growth led Phil to approach the ACF. The trust was awarded a £100,000 grant and a £100,000 loan, which helped AVCT to develop the Communiversity site to build a recording studio, conference centre, café, crèche and study support rooms, and to lease a former supermarket to develop as a base for NSC’s building and environmental sections.
Since then, it has continued to expand. In 2006, it secured external funding to build a new Skills Centre and a 100 acre farm, and a £290,000 loan and £75,000 grant from the ACF to purchase a parade of shops which contains the supermarket base formally leased by NSC. The vacant units at the parade will be used as a catering training facility.
Besides financial assistance, the ACF also funded a consultant to provide feedback on AVCT’s progress. Today, its finances are in good health. AVCT and its sister organisations have taken loans to pay for new capital investments, but the rest of their revenue is earned by delivering training and building environmental maintenance contracts.
The three organisations now employ over 80 people full-time, provide 45 paid training opportunities and have a combined turnover in excess of £3 million. For the local community, this growth has resulted in better and more diverse training and education facilities, and a greater chance of securing employment. Phil has also been asked to replicate the model in another neighbourhood.
‘We take a holistic approach,’ says Phil. ‘There is a synergy between all of our organisations – and that’s an integral part of our success.’