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Small charitable/community project - what do we need to know?

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dmjb90dmjb90 Forumite
3 posts
First Post
MoneySaving Newbie
Hello all

Here's hoping there's a charity boffin that can help.

I am setting up a small project, and some friends will probably support me as volunteers, too. The project aims to provide adults who're isolated and living alone with activity packs to keep busy and avoid boredom—in turn, promoting their wellbeing, during this difficult time. 

There'll be no cost for the packages, and we'll receive referrals for those in need of one, then post it out. A typical pack will include some magazines, crosswords, a jigsaw and maybe some other similar bits and bobs. 

Anyone working on the project is volunteering their time to deliver it. I'm also asking for donations, via a platform like GoFundMe, and any donations will go into:

  • Purchasing goods for the activity packs
  • Postage and packaging 
  • Some small pieces of marketing

I don't expect to raise more than £5000. 

My questions to you guys are:

  • Do I need to register the project with anyone? 
  • Can I/we call the project a charity without being registered or having a 'governing document'? 
  • Do we need insurance?
  • From a governance perspective, is there anything would you expect us to have in place?

Thanks very much
D

Replies

  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
    42.2K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    dmjb90 said:
    • Do I need to register the project with anyone? 
    Far from a charity expert, but I don't believe so. 
    dmjb90 said:
    • Can I/we call the project a charity without being registered or having a 'governing document'? 
    You cannot call yourself a REGISTERED charity if you are not registered, and by the sound of it don't intend to do so. However, personally, I would hold back from describing yourself as a charity if you are not, and do not intend to be, registered because it's easy to misrepresent yourselves. And no, an informal bunch of friends doing what you describe does not need a governing document. However ... 
    dmjb90 said:
    • Do we need insurance?
    That depends. More to the point, will you be able to get it? 

    What would you need it for? Who's involved in / how / where are these packs being assembled? Where are the makings of these packs being stored? If you're putting them together in your front room, and volunteers collect from outside your front door, would your normal household insurance cover you if a slate blows off the roof and knocks someone out? 

    Would your normal household insurance cover the cost of these packs if you had a burglary? 

    I don't know what sort of sums you're talking about. And if you're as informal as you could be, honestly I think you'd struggle to get insurance. What risks are you concerned about? Might you include something in the pack which could injure someone? I don't know. 

    Actually, I have just thought of something which I'll cover below. 
    dmjb90 said:
    • From a governance perspective, is there anything would you expect us to have in place?
    I think that very much depends where you see this going. If it is just a short term, nice idea involving just a bunch of friends, then great, just do it as a bunch of friends. There's a whole heap of informal 'stuff' going on, on a more or less 'ad hoc' basis. 

    HOWEVER, the thought I had under insurance of the 'what can possibly go wrong' kind, is that if there is any possibility of your random group of friends doing more than deliver activity packs, and if any active befriending starts going on, and if that carries on post-social-isolation, and if these are 'vulnerable' adults, or if children are involved, then you are moving into the world of DBS checks. 

    But on the whole I'd suggest not over-thinking it ... 
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
  • edited 22 April at 10:34PM
    dmjb90dmjb90 Forumite
    3 posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    edited 22 April at 10:34PM
    Thanks so much, Savvy Sue!

    We’ll continue calling ourselves a project and steer clear of the word charity. 

    Insurance wise, I’ll explore this. But packs will be put together by me in my own living room, and posted in the mail. Again, taken to the post office by myself. Volunteers/friends will only be assisting with gathering donations (monetary and products) to support the project. The packs are ‘low value’ in cost, yet high social value to their recipients, hopefully. 

    I’ll steer away from over engineering things, unless the need ever comes in the future. But for now, we’re only putting together activity packs using donations, to post to people in need :-) 

    Thanks again
    D
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