Keychange Site investment strategy

In 2022 we helped the charity Keychange to consider, envision and appraise options for the future of one of their care home sites. Alongside this, we explored options to better connect their property portfolio strategy to their organisational approach.

Keychange has provided caring communities for the prevention and relief of poverty for over a hundred years. Inspired by their Christian faith and values, the charity is focused on delivering the highest levels of care for individuals in need and has an excellent reputation, locally and nationally.

After a period of operational change necessitated and amplified by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Keychange sought to re-evaluate how best to utilise its key assets (both property and people) to deliver on its vision for caring communities and future-proof its legacy for the next generation.

From our initial brief, to build upon previously undertaken site-level feasibility work, we initiated a Discovery stage to gather and appraise relevant documentation, review design work and interview key internal stakeholders.

“It was really positive to have someone come in and not accept as fact what they were given, but to ask some probing questions.”

Discovering the context

This process allowed us to get under the skin of redevelopment proposals for the specific care home site. It surfaced work to date and identified gaps. It also revealed personal and strategic priorities and visions for the asset’s future. Gathering information and asking good questions, we helped our client unpick and understand where they’d got to, how they’d got there and importantly where they wanted to go and the best next steps.

“The previously proposed project had gained slightly mythical status as something that was a bit more grounded than maybe it was…Futureground came in and asked us some really fundamental questions” says incoming CEO Benjamin Downing. ”This was helpful in highlighting that the depth of research foundations weren’t sound enough for the organisation to go into what was potentially a multi-million pound project.”

Laying robust research foundations

We undertook targeted research to better define the local demand and supply related to older persons residential accommodation. We also identified relevant asset transformation case studies to provoke and inspire. We developed options for both project delivery routes and asset operational models tailored to suit Keychange’s expertise and capacity. Stakeholder mapping and prospective partner identification formed a key output.

Bringing our expertise, insights and recommendations we helped Keychange to take important decisions about the future of a key property asset. More widely, our holistic approach helped to set out some simple strategic tools and processes to guide the appraisal and transformation of other sites in their portfolio.

“Futureground was appointed to help us look at one site, but now we’re applying some of their analytical approach on a cross organisational level. They have added value much more widely than expected.”

Care sector specific challenges

The care sector was already in crisis before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. The pandemic has demanded far-reaching and responsive operational change across the care sector. For many organisations, it has created a vacuum of strategic planning, changes in personnel at every level, and a new and unfamiliar operational, cultural and value landscape. Rapidly increasing energy and food prices in 2022 further piled pressure on strained care organisations. 

Within this challenging context, Keychange’s incoming CEO needed to quickly understand the charity’s assets (both physical and people) and ways of working to inform the next chapter in the organisations long and respected history.  Our approach rapidly and objectively synthesised relevant documentation, tailored research and stakeholder views to support an effective decision-making process.

Turning organisational vision into actionable steps

Through our work we identified eighteen specific recommendations, of which four were given high priority as next best steps. Having presented a meticulously researched report to the trustees, Keychange welcomed the recommendations we made.

With their resources stretched and minimal in-house development experience, we were asked to progress the next key steps, which focused on testing the investment case for site transformation, redevelopment or disposal. Throughout the process we looked to engage widely and meaningfully within the organisation and as appropriate with external parties, to seek soundings as well build shared vision and support. 

Our work has helped Keychange’s incoming CEO to explore the new context and priorities for the organisation as a whole. We also demonstrated where he could gain insight from external experts to provide specific experience and resource, to help guide and drive essential projects.

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