Enterprising ideas

This section provides some examples of business approaches you might take to improve the efficiency and profitability of your community use

Please get in touch if you have your own enterprising ideas that we could share with schools.

Incentivising Staff

If you had a very popular activity with high participation potential (for example a Zumba class) then you may want to directly employ the tutor and retain the potential income. 

If you are directly managing community use then as the employer you could incentivise the staff and introduce bonuses based on high levels of participation.

If you are engaging a third party provider to run an activity/ programme on your behalf it might be possible to enter into a profit share so they are similarly incentivised.  

Working with Third Parties

If you are working with a third party provider, there is still the opportunity to gain additional benefits from the relationship. For example:

  • Are you able to help each other on the effective purchasing and use of resources?
  • Are there opportunities for shared training and development? 
  • What commitments are they able to make to involve your students, staff and community when appropriate?  

Access to other school services

Consider how you can broaden your offer by providing community users with access to other school services such as reprographic facilities, library facilities, ICT systems etc. Consider sport as an important element in a wider community offer that might include adult learning, conference and training facilities etc.

Reducing your outgoings

Consider how you can reduce your outgoings to increase your profit margins. For example, how can you reduce your energy costs?

Example: At All Saints Catholic High School in Sheffield, a commercial company have installed 50kw solar panels on the Sports Centre roof and in return they take the annual profit from the panels but the Sports Centre benefits from half price electricity.

Negotiating in kind services and support

Establishing mutually beneficial partnerships can be a key feature of Community Use. For example, you may provide a sports club with priority use and/or a reduced rate for one of your facilities, and in return they could support you with delivering activities in your core business.

Example: At Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, Sefton Rugby Club have free use of the school pitches during summer. In return the club provide free coaching, teacher training and many students attend the junior club.

Pooling resources – working with a group of schools

Whether you are part of an Academy family, a federation of schools, or you have strong links with your local primary schools; there may be an opportunity for procuring joint services or sharing resources which present economies of scale benefits.

Example: Schools in Suffolk have saved money by approaching suppliers as a collective of schools – for example a marketing company offered a low cost preferential rate for the schools as a partnership. Schools were also given an opportunity to buy into a low cost IT software solution for community bookings. See Suffolk County Council Case Study for further details.

Example: Landau Forte Charitable Trust employs a Marketing and Facilities Manager to facilitate ‘Landau Forte Enterprises’.  This enables all facilities across their family of Academy sites to be marketed and managed under the one ‘umbrella’. 


Are you working with a commercial company (such as your Facility Management Company if you are a PFI school) or do you have a high profile company based or working near to your school? Particularly if they have a Corporate Social Responsibility Statement, they may be interested in offering sponsorship or grant funding for a programme or event.

Example: Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School have formed a partnership with a large construction company who were rebuilding the nearby children’s hospital. The school offered the construction workers free use of their all weather pitch at available slots and in return the construction company carried out some much needed repairs to the pitch fencing, and sponsored a football league with the proceeds going to the hospital.

Rewards stamps/points

Consider using incentive schemes to increase attendance of, for example, pay and play sessions or the number of fitness suite visits.  A reward stamp scheme can be used to provide free sessions after a certain number of visits.  This could also be linked into a free draw once participants have completed a certain number of visits each month / term.

Community road shows and open days

Could you promote your community use through other local community settings? This could be simple promotion with flyers and posters aimed at the venue’s audience (e.g. Youth Club or Health Centre) or a more innovative approach would be to offer taster sessions in the location.

For example, your school fitness instructor could deliver an over 50’s pilates class as a taster session for a Luncheon Club or Pensioners Coffee Morning at a local Community Centre.

Another option is to hold a community sports fair / open day, allowing the public to come and try club sessions and classes for free.  Running a junior or school sport tournament is always a good way to attract parents into your school. You could take a small contribution from clubs towards staffing as they will be promoting their clubs and hopefully increasing their membership and future income.  Alternatively you might choose to fund the event yourself as it promotes community cohesion and links to your primary transition programme.  Other curriculum subjects could be involved such as enterprise students selling products and food technology students providing catering.  Not only does this raise the profile of the school but it provides opportunities for students to develop their work place skills.

Sportivate funding to establish new clubs

Sport England’s Sportivate programme is a London 2012 legacy project that gives more young people the chance to discover a sport they love. The programme gives 14-25 year olds who are not particularly sporty access to six to eight weeks of free or subsidised coaching in a range of sports. This funding could be used to establish new clubs and support community use during your vacant hire times/slots.  This creates a win win scenario as your school gets the guaranteed income for facility hire without having to rely on a certain number of people attending.  This is a great tool to kick start projects and activities without putting a financial risk on the school.

Your County Sport Partnership will be able to provide further information.


If you are employing specialist staff such as football coaches, they could quite easily run parties that include coaching, a tournament and medals.  You could double your income on your usual junior pitch or sports hall hire rate. A Commercial provider will charge around £12.50 per head with a minimum of 10 children (including a buffet and medals). Schools could charge less than this and still make a considerable profit.

Car parking

Depending on your location, there may be potential to offer special event car parking during weekends and evenings. For example if you are near to a shopping centre you might offer car parking during the Christmas period, or if you are near a football stadium you could offer parking on match days (remember to make the relevant organisation aware of your plans). This is a great way of generating income and supporting your local community as you are reducing the risk of crime and reducing the numbers of cars being parked on the roads so there is less congestion and less effects on local residents.  As an example - If you charge £5.00 per car for 3 hours at a football match and you have 150 spaces available that’s £750, with the cost of two staff costing approx £120.00, income generated is £630.00. Your LA highways department will be able to advise you on any restrictions and legal requirements such as insurance.

Maximising your spaces

Community users may not always be looking for a traditional sports facility, think about how you can use other spaces on your site to maximise income. For example:

  • Schools with atrium areas could utilise this space for activities such as table tennis.
  • A local running club may be looking for a safe and secure venue to meet up, start and finish their runs. This might include access to a club room, changing facilities or simply a noticeboard and foyer area.
  • Hard court areas could be used to delivering external programmes such as cycling proficiency.

Attracting new audiences

Think about how you market and package your community programmes to develop new audiences. For example, if you have a fitness suite – could you offer gym sessions to parents who are dropping their children off at a junior club? Could you develop activities for the whole family? Could you organise a high profile event to reach a wide audience and raise the profile of your out of hours offer? Some popular examples are ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ or ‘Stars in their Eyes’ competitions that have generated income and also showcased the school to new audiences/potential new students.

Primary PE and Sport Premium

Consider how you can support local primary schools in delivering high quality PE and Sport either by hosting an activity or through outreach activities. For example, if you have a Community Manager or equivalent role it could be an extension of their duties to support this activity. It will provide useful additional income as well as strengthening your relationship with local primary schools.

If you have your own enterprising idea that you are willing to share, please get in touch.