Ok, we promised a big announcement about the structure of the project, in order to safeguard it’s future, open up additional funding streams through grants and financial donations and also introduce greater transparency and accountability, which we feel is vitally important – it’s a community focussed project, after all, so everything needs to be open and in the public eye.
Having explored our options and taken professional advice, we’ve concluded that registering as a charity would perhaps prove too restrictive in terms of our community focussed aims and may limit the opportunities available to help those most in need through activities which wouldn’t necessarily fit the rigid criteria set down by the Charity Commission. We’re also conscious that the administrative burden is considerably higher, with associated costs which would take vital funds away from our focus areas.
We’re delighted to announce, therefore, that the Community Interest Company Regulator have accepted our application to register Nobody Should Be Hungry as a Community Interest Company, Limited by Guarantee. The Deli Group and its directors have stood as guarantors for the new CIC and will act as its first directors, although we will be looking to the community for others who may like to take on this important role. This means that the project will remain a part of The Deli Group and will continue to receive financial and practical support, but will be an independent entity with it’s own governance, it’s own charitable aims and objectives and ultimately it’s own assets and financial resources which will be maintained separately to those of the commercial trading companies, for the sole benefit of the community.
Without getting too technical (we’re happy to discuss in greater detail with anybody who’s interested!) perhaps the most important feature of a CIC which we need to mention is something called the “Asset Lock”. What this basically means is that assets accumulated by the project can only be used to further its charitable/community objectives or distributed to other asset locket bodies such as charities or other CIC’s – nobody can profit from the work we do and donations or grants cannot be misappropriated for private or business gain. The CIC can run profitably, but any surplus needs to be reinvested in the community or given to other similar organisations, not paid out to shareholders (because there are none!). It also means that in the event of the project coming to an end, any assets would be distributed in the same community focussed way.
We’ve initially indicated that the CIC’s assets should be redistributed to The Hope Centre St Helens and HUBBUB UK in the event of the project being wound up, as we feel their ethos and the fundamental values which underpin their organisations are closely aligned with our own, however to be clear this does not mean that other similarly asset locked bodies may not benefit from the work of the CIC.
Ok, the boring legal bit out of the way, day-to-day all of this doesn’t make any difference to how the community fridge and the new school uniform bank projects will operate, so you’ll probably not notice any difference at all. What it does mean is that we will be able to apply for a lot more in the way of grant funding to help our community, we’ll be eligible for a wider range of surplus products from even more organisations and ultimately we’ll be able to widen the community focussed services we are able to offer – so we’ll be asking for feedback and suggestions as to where help is most needed and what form it should take. Watch this space, and if you have any ideas or suggestions, or feel that you may have something to add to the project as a volunteer or by joining the board of directors then please get in touch. To keep things as open and transparent as possible, we’re keen to have at least 2 community directors who are independent of The Deli Group – there’s no commitment required financially (well, technically a token £1 is guaranteed) or in terms of your time, but we feel it’s vitally important that the financial and administrative aspects of the project are kept open to the community to avoid any misinterpretation of good intentions.