Lakeland Arts: Business and Strategic Planning

Lakeland Arts is an independent charitable trust in Cumbria responsible for Abbot Hall in Kendal, the Museum of Lakeland Life, Blackwell Arts & Crafts House and the Windermere Steamboat Museum, which is being re-built to house a nationally significant collection of boats, donated to the Trust in 2007.


To produce a comprehensive business plan for a renewed Windermere Steamboat Museum (to be called Windemere Jetty), based on new architectural proposals by Carmody Groarke and to support a successful HLF Stage 2 application.

To include in the business plan the strategic planning of staffing requirements and charging structures; to inform the design brief from a catering/retail/operational point of view; and to help frame the artistic and creative programme to complement the proposed business model.


Stephen Escritt and Tom Wilcox wrote a new business plan for the museum – considering design, programming and financial success. They created a detailed financial model and a range of visitor scenarios from which the museum can revise its staffing and programming accordingly. They carried out extensive benchmarking with comparable local and national organisations – including market testing of catering and hire potential. Counterculture’s specialist catering consultant Duncan Ackery advised on the business model, design brief and capacity for a café, as well as retail potential and operations. Stephen and Tom worked with Counterculture’s VAT consultant Soc VAT to define the most appropriate VAT position (balancing the capital project with the business model.) They attended review meetings with the HLF and presented work in progress at key stages to the client’s project board. Throughout they worked closely with the architects and wider design team to ensure that the development of the design incorporated the needs and requirements of the business plan.


A comprehensive business plan that supported Lakeland Arts’ successful Stage 2 HLF bid for  £9.4 million towards the new Windermere Jetty.



Image © Lakeland Arts, used with permission. With thanks to Carmody Groarke.