A LEADING accountancy firm is playing a pivotal role in developing the iconic Beacon of Light for Sunderland AFC’s official charity.
Chartered accountants UNW LLP were commissioned by Foundation of Light to develop a business plan to demonstrate the viability of its most ambitious project to date and to excite donors about the prospect of being involved in the development of the iconic Beacon of Light.
Corporate Finance Senior Manager, Jo Powell who led the project explains, “At UNW we have extensive experience of helping organisations to develop powerful business plans.
“We really interrogate projects and the underlying financial information to ensure that all the assumptions are appropriate and realistic. Using our background of supporting with strategy, we are able to help “tell the story” for businesses, donors and commercial partners so that they understand and believe in a project and feel moved to get involved.
We already knew about the great work of the Foundation of Light and were keen to meet Lesley Spuhler and her team to find out if there were ways we could work together using our strong financial experience and skills to develop the exciting Beacon project.
Our work was made easier by the professionalism, energy and enthusiasm of Lesley and her team.
Ms Powell adds: “Through our work on social impact and as Big Potential & Impact Readiness Fund Providers, we were also able to fully understand the impact on beneficiaries and advise on Social Return on Investment.
“Our help supporting the rigour and integrity of the numbers is only part of the jigsaw.
“Ultimately it is the track record of management and staff at the Foundation that is now exciting donors and corporate partners alike to get involved and invest.
“Our research shows that the social impact of the Beacon of Light project will be exceptional, with the project forecast to directly benefit hundreds of thousands of people every year and to generate a total discounted social return on investment of £73 million over the next twenty years.
“The Beacon will provide the region with an amazing and iconic venue brought to life by the work of the fantastic Foundation staff, volunteers and the families they touch.”
UNW have proved to be key players in the Beacon team. The Foundation has a target of £15m to raise to open the Beacon of Light and we are now well on target to achieve this with their help and support.
We needed an experienced and well respected team who could interrogate and challenge every aspect of the Beacon plan to prove its sustainability, long-term viability and more importantly just what it could achieve.
Having such an in-depth business plan was crucial for us to get the backing of Trustees, stakeholders and potential donors and our plans are now exciting would be benefactors and corporate partners alike.
Lesley Spuhler, Foundation of Light CEO
UNW is a leading independent firm of chartered accountants based in the North East. Their wide range of clients includes charities and social enterprises, entrepreneurs and their businesses, inward investors and professional partnerships.
The Beacon business plan project was led by Jo Powell, who has significant experience of raising investment for a wide range of charities, social enterprises and companies.