UK Strategy Challenge: Helping Charity Community Links Expand into Waltham Forest

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UK Strategy Challenge: Helping Charity Community Links Expand into Waltham Forest

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#StrategyChallenge14 team mentor Tosin Ajayi blogs about helping @Comm_Links expand its services: http://bit.ly/1kXM0El
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 3:00pm

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Posted by Tosin Ajayi, Managing Director in Commodities, Morgan Stanley, London
 
We are now into our sixth week of the UK Strategy Challenge, and my team – Alan, Athena, Elizabeth, Harsha and Mark - is doing incredible work with Community Links. Specifically, they are addressing how Community Links can most effectively expand its services into the borough of Waltham Forest in a way that complements and enhances other charities' existing services in the borough.
 
I am thrilled to serve as the Managing Director Advisor for the UK Strategy Challenge team working with Community Links. Community Links is an innovative East London charity that runs a wide range of community projects to reduce poverty and extend opportunities in education and employment to ultimately build stronger communities. Through their network of community projects and services, they empower over 16,000 disadvantaged children, teenagers, and adults each year, helping them build their own way out of poverty toward a brighter future. Personally, what has surprised me is the dedication of personal time committed to addressing the hurdles that charities continuously face. It is not an easy task to address the problems they do, while continuing to grow and evolve.
 
Our team started by building a strong network within Community Links to get to know how the organization runs and the resources required for expansion. The team were fortunate to meet key figures, including the charity's CEO Geraldine Blake, giving them a greater understanding of the strategic challenge.
 
To break down their question, our team analyzed the local gaps in service, and then determined which of those align strategically with Community Links, what operating model Community Links should use to scale them, and if they can apply this model in assessing and planning for expansion into other boroughs. Our analysis has shown that there are high levels of deprivation in Waltham Forest, particularly in the south of the borough, and that the needs of the local community are similar to those in Newham where Community Links currently operates. Despite the need for the type of services Community Links can provide, there are fewer organizations providing these services in Waltham Forest.
 
We have been impressed with the multifaceted approach and holistic service model that Community Links uses to tackle inequality in a breadth of ways, from young to older generations. We are looking forward to sharing our findings and strategic solutions with the charity in a few short weeks on May 15, and it is our hope that the recommendations we provide will lead to their greater impact across London. 
 
For more information on the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge, please visit: www.morganstanley.com/strategychallenge/.
 
Keywords: Social Impact & Volunteering | nonprofit | pro bono | volunteer

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