How communities can come together after coronavirus / Charity Law
The current coronavirus pandemic is a worrying time for everyone. However, when we are through this crisis and out the other side, we can hold on to the positives and continue working together to support and enrich our communities.
A modern and popular way to do that is through Community Interest Companies (CICs), which are a special type of limited company established to benefit a community. Those communities can be everyone, people in a particular area or, for example, people with a common disadvantage.
CIC’s are social enterprises with their own recognised “brand”, which can attract funding from a wide range of sources. For example, Power to Change was established by the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015, with £150 million to invest in community businesses in England. Since then it has channelled more than 20% of its grant funding into CICs.
CICs’ assets are subject to an “asset lock” which ensures that they are used to fulfil the CIC’s purposes. This can be important in attracting investors, donors and volunteers and for those CICs which will hold property, such as community halls or shops.
As CICs are limited companies the CIC’s Directors are not usually exposed to personal liability. Those who establish CICs can both retain control over the CIC and get paid fairly for their work as directors of the CIC, which is important for those who make it their full-time occupation.
But just how popular have CICs become? We only have to look at how many CICs were formed earlier this year to see that they are a booming part of our communities: in February 2020 alone, more than 550 CICs were registered across the UK, covering a huge variety of projects.
These ranged from the Elite Gym Academy CIC in Antrim in Northern Ireland to the Suicide Awareness Prevention UK CIC in Blackburn, and from the Wild Spirited Kids CIC in Nottingham to the Community Immigration Checking Service CIC in Sheffield.
New registrations in the Midlands included Successful Ageing CIC in Sutton Coldfield, Redditch Fire Dodgeball Club CIC, More Than Football in Birmingham and Every Gifted Teen CIC in Redditch.
Even just this sample of CICs shows the positive ways they can help communities – from sport to mental health, and from children to older generations.
If you’ve got an idea to help your community, small or large scale, forming a CIC could enable you to turn this idea into a reality.
An important thing to consider is that CICs can be established by individuals, for profit companies and by charities. Here at Thursfields Solicitors, we can help you decide the best legal structure to use- whether that is a CIC, a charity or one of the other less well-known options.
For further advise please contact Jenny Smith, Head of the Charities and Communities department on 01905 677052 or by emailing JSmith@thursfields.co.uk.