Over the last six months, the Board has considered, along with some volunteers and Members, our strategy and future plans.
Part of the conclusion is that we need to be in a position to raise significantly more money than we do currently, to fund expansion into areas like Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and greater community benefit through access to our facilities, podcasts, broadcasts and training programmes.
As a result, we have decided to apply to the Charities Commission to become a Charity. This is fairly common among community radio stations, and will give us access to more grant funds and to tax reliefs such as gift aid and business rent relief. It also marks the start of a new, exciting chapter in the history of our radio station.
The fact that we are able to contemplate this step is as a result of your hard work, putting us in a position where we are respected, well run, well known and have the opportunity to take the next step in benefiting local people. Thank you.
The current running of the core radio station will be unaffected by this change in status; we will remain committed to real local radio, serving the local area and to giving local people the chance to be part of our output.
To help us with these changes, we have appointed two new Directors to the Company’s Board. Mike Gray and Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman bring a wealth of relevant experience in the charity sector and from their business backgrounds. Some of you may know Mike and his previous work as Chair of the Museums and Galleries Trust which raised significant funds for the new Museum and Gallery in St Albans. Jon is currently the CEO of the Responsible Business Alliance and part of our Drive team of presenters.
Becoming a Charity will result in a clearer and more binding commitment to our purposes and “not for profit” status.
We are now seeking external legal advice on these changes and will refine the proposals between now and late November.
You are invited to join us for a conference call on Tuesday 29th October at 1930 to ask any questions you may have. The dial in number is 0 333 113 0100 and the access code is 1151980
Nick Hazell, Chairman
|Why do we need to do this?||Because we believe that this will allow us to access a greater range of funding and make us more attractive to both business and individual donors because of the tax benefits.|
|Why does business rate relief matter?||Charities benefit from an automatic 80% reduction in business rates on their premises. If we want to move to larger premises, we would be wasting money as a commercial company.|
|Why do we need bigger premises?||Because today we can’t undertake many of the activities we’d like to which could benefit our wider community, such as various parts of the community coming together to make radio, offering students, older people and people from marginalised parts of the community the change to work together on radio.|
|Why would people give us more money?||Because charities are regulated and held to account for their charitable work. This gives more assurance to donors than our current “not for profit” status. Also, businesses and individuals can claim tax relief on donations.|
|What are our charitable objectives going to be?|| |
· To capture social history soundbites
|How will we do this?||We believe that we undertake almost all of this charitable activity already but gain no benefit from it as a result of our commercial status|
|What happens next?||We will consider input received from Members and from external legal advisers and modify proposals accordingly. Once the Board has approved the final application to the Charities Commission, we will put the proposal to the Members of the existing Company. Assuming approval, we would expect to submit an application to the Charities Commission during December 2019 and be approved or otherwise by the Charities Commission by the end of May 2020.|