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Forming a small charity

I am considering forming a small charity to support people in need any advice please

I have been working with a group of friends  providing meals for homeless people.The group is  self financing without any structure.People are becoming aware of what we are doing and have started offering donations. I am looking to form a small charity and would appreciate member's views of the wisdom of doing this and how easy it is to do. We are fully compliant with food hygiene regulations. The guidance on Charity Commison web site seems to suggest that it is a relatively  easy procedure. Any help and guidance much appreciated. Thanks very much.

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24th Mar 2019 11:17

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission

There's a link to "Set up and register a charity".

Step No 1 is "Check if setting up a charity is right for you".

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24th Mar 2019 12:24

I've always thought that the real pain of running a charity is getting people to be trustees, but as in your case you know so many people who might be committed to the cause, perhaps that's not a problem for you.
The other issue is whether you're duplicating other charity work in your area.

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24th Mar 2019 14:15

Imagine how difficult it might be. Multiply by 10 and decide if you still want to do it. Have an exit plan (which tends to be more difficult than the entry plan).

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By Tosie
to andy.partridge
24th Mar 2019 14:31

Thanks very much, the problem that I have is I cannot believe how easy it appears to be which is why I have posted here. I am afraid that I am missing something.

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to Tosie
24th Mar 2019 14:57

Tosie wrote:

Thanks very much, the problem that I have is I cannot believe how easy it appears to be which is why I have posted here. I am afraid that I am missing something.

Whether it is easy to set up is a moot point. (There are 6 steps in the link I posted and at least 3 of those are not trivial.) What's not easy and is time-consuming is meeting all the obligations that come with being a registered charity - and that's before you register with HMRC.

https://www.gov.uk/topic/running-charity/trustee-role-board

Have a look at the first link I posted and all the 'sub-links'. If you are going to do it (or, indeed, in order to make an informed decision whether to do it), you need to read every bit of guidance on the Charity Commission website. If you don't want to do that, I would either forget the idea or see if someone else wants to run that side of the operation.

Setting up a limited company is easy but we all know that there are numerous statutory obligations that result.

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By Tosie
to Accountant A
24th Mar 2019 15:34

Thank you for your advice and helpful links. I am going through the points carefully . One of our friends wants to make a very high donation (£100k)otherwise I would be more inclined to do a CIC which I am more familiar with.Most grateful for your help.

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to Tosie
24th Mar 2019 15:50

Tosie wrote:

Thank you for your advice and helpful links. I am going through the points carefully . One of our friends wants to make a very high donation (£100k)otherwise I would be more inclined to do a CIC which I am more familiar with.Most grateful for your help.

You're welcome. If you are starting off with that size of donation, you will need good infrastructure in place from day 1. There just needs to be a recognition from everyone getting involved (certainly as trustees) that there is a commitment of time managing a charity - and that's over and above actually doing the charitable works.

Anyway, best of luck.

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By Tosie
to Accountant A
24th Mar 2019 16:09

Thank you.

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to Accountant A
24th Mar 2019 17:16

Accountant A wrote:

Tosie wrote:

Thank you for your advice and helpful links. I am going through the points carefully . One of our friends wants to make a very high donation (£100k)otherwise I would be more inclined to do a CIC which I am more familiar with.Most grateful for your help.

You're welcome. If you are starting off with that size of donation, you will need good infrastructure in place from day 1. There just needs to be a recognition from everyone getting involved (certainly as trustees) that there is a commitment of time managing a charity - and that's over and above actually doing the charitable works.

Anyway, best of luck.

You can get an idea of the time and commitment involved here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission/about/pub...

Managing all of those areas takes time and money

It's great that you have a substantial donation, but what is going to happen in Y2? It really may be easier to collaborate with an existing local charity that can handle the reporting and admin more easily....

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to Tosie
24th Mar 2019 17:29

My experience is that EVERYONE is enthusiastic to begin with. After the novelty wears off, commitment starts to wane understandably because life priorities change.

The remaining enthusiasts aren’t necessarily the ones with the skillsets. You find yourself wrapped up in technical and constitutional issues that leave other committee members cold. Not just cold, they don’t understand and switch off.

You struggle to get a quorum or a commitment to make a decision that allows you to move forward, aside from petty conflicts that emerge. You start to lose heart yourself and find it impossible to attract interest to share the burden.

My experience might not be typical but I doubt it’s original, either.

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to andy.partridge
25th Mar 2019 11:11

Some will offer their services and let you down. Others will be half-hearted and you are meant to show gratitude for their half-heartedness because, after all, they are only volunteers. Some will promise much but not deliver because really their objective is to get something down on their CV that will impress 3rd parties of their altruism.

You will realise that because you can only act as quickly as the slowest committee member you are better off having a small team. Then one of your small team says they don't want to do it any more and you're s c r e w e d.

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to andy.partridge
25th Mar 2019 11:21

Oh, and if I had a £ for every time a committee member didn't turn up to a meeting citing 'I couldn't get a baby sitter . . '!

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By Matrix
24th Mar 2019 17:41

If you are offering your services then remember you can only prepare the books or carry out an independent examination, you can't do both.

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25th Mar 2019 10:23

Ive found that people start getting twitchy when they realise that trustees have personal liability.

Totally agree with Any P on the enthusiam being in overdrive to start and going on the wane after a period, usually 1-2 years in. Find its a little easier if you dont have someone that wants to make each meeting into a 5 hour marathan for no reason.

Just prepared for the rubbish that can occur, as it can also be very rewarding.

Good luck!

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