AIM Hallmark grant – Markfield Beam Engine and Museum

MBEAM interior

AIM Hallmarks Grant £5,000
Organisational Consolidation and Development

The Markfield Beam Engine & Museum is managed by a volunteer-led Charitable Trust Company, located in Markfield Park, South Tottenham, on the site of one of the earliest UK Victorian sewage treatment works. The Museum features a unique steam-powered pumping beam engine in a Grade II listed engine hall, telling the story of the site and engine and opens on designated days throughout the year, including ‘Steam Days’.

Our project aimed to achieve sustainable potential for planned future Museum development. The Trust benefited from the guidance of consultant Debbie Read, supporting the efforts of our enthusiastic volunteer Museum Trustee team, who also had extended negotiations with our Local Authority and the Charity Commission.

The Project had 3 strands:

  1. Business planning and income generation;
  2. Legal review of existing Charitable Company constitution and lease;
  3. Organisational review of AIM Hallmark areas.

Developing the wide range of organisational structures, policies and initiatives has been a collaborative exercise. Consultant-led workshops, advice and exemplars enabled the team to build on existing internal reviews and research, develop and review drafts, and adopt documents and systems. As a voluntary organisation, sufficient time is needed for due internal development and deliberation – which is also true when working with external official bodies! However, remember with governance matters, others have gone before – take advantage of all the consultant advice, examples and research available.

What have we achieved?

  • Organisational structure for managing the Trust;
  • Business plan setting out our short, medium and long-term vision and strategies;
  • A range of organisational policies and procedures;
  • Online document management;
  • Anticipated new lease for the Museum premises;
  • Transition from our current Charitable Company to Charitable Incorporated Organisation status.

All were designed to provide sound organisational structures, policies and systems to support the Trust’s aspirations for future development.

The project’s impact is only likely to be realised over time in relation to the objectives set in our business plan. The COVID-19 pandemic impact necessitated adjustments to the plan, but the overall direction remains intact. Anecdotally, the Trust believes the project has provided the means, assurance and impetus and to take forward sustainable plans for developing and managing the Museum. This impetus is seen in the new life engendered through recruitment of new volunteers, four of whom have now joined the Trustee Board, supplementing the existing team’s experience, and helping to drive progress.

This has been made possible with the financial backing and understanding of AIM, who have continued to support the project beyond the original period because of the external difficulties we encountered.

“Collectively the initiatives developed through the project, have provided the sound business, legal and organisational platform needed to support the ongoing sound sustainable governance and administration of the Trust and Museum. This platform has been needed if we were ever to realise the expansion of the work and charitable service of our unique Museum to the public.”

David Cracknell – Chair of the Board of Trustees. Markfield Beam Engine and Museum>>