Steve Shirley MBE is the founder of the Museum of RAF Firefighting, currently located in Scunthorpe. He talks to us about joining Prosper North and his aspiration that a volunteer-led organisation can combine both passion and business acumen.
Tell us more about the museum…
We’re a committed group of volunteers dedicated to promoting awareness of military firefighting by the preservation of a unique collection of vehicles, artefacts, reference and visual media relating not only to the military but to fire services worldwide.
What appeals to you about the Prosper North programme?
Although we are a group of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds, we have a skills gap when it comes to operating in the commercial environment where business sense is more important to success than passion alone. The chance to network with other organisations, problem solve and share experiences whilst receiving professional help and advice will hopefully enable us to make a success of achieving our aim which is to establish a permanent home for the collection that will enable it to be enjoyed by generations for years to come.
How do you hope it will help with the challenges and opportunities your organisation faces?
We believe that our collection is of national importance. However, a Museum cannot survive on passion alone. We need to know how to operate as a business and secure funding that will enable us to operate independently in the future in a secure, long term environment that will be recognised as a market leader not only in this country but around the world.
What are you hoping to achieve by the end of the programme?
To find a permanent home for the Museum that is capable of self-financing its activities in order to continue operating for years to come.
Find out more about Prosper North and how to apply for the next edition here.