Misc Setting up a small charity

Discussion in 'The Front Room' started by Raven, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Raven

    Raven Brrrrr!


    I went along to a meeting in the village hall the other day regarding a lake in the village. Its somewhere that all the old villagers knew about and used to be a regular haunt for kids "back in the day" It's a couple of acres of land which is the lake and some mixed woodland. Loads of odd bits of Victorian decorations, even an old dog graveyard.

    The lake has always been there and was part of the old manor house and grounds that got pulled down in the 60s to make a couple of streets of identical houses. In the 90s The lake became part of the golf course that is next to the village. Later on the land near it also got developed so there is no way of actually getting to it any more unless you cross one of the holes on the course or cross some private land that is occasionally used to hold livestock. The owners of the land have agreed to allow access through their field, on the basis that people don't take the piss and if they do hold livestock that any dogs are kept on a lead at all times and that they can close access with reasonable notice.

    The lake itself isn't used for anything and has been left to silt up and go to ruin, trees have fallen across the lake, what victorian architecture there is left has pretty much collapsed and the area is just overgrown and a complete mess.

    A few years ago the golf course offered the land to the parish council who turned it down, they didn't have the resources available to clean it up, let alone manage it. My sister and a few others have started looking into gaining access to it for the village and have made contact with the owners of the golf course, they have provisionally said that so long as there is no access to the golf course they might be willing to allow people to use it. they have no use for it because of its location and access issues.

    Anyway, I turned up to the meeting only having the intention of putting my name forward for any clearance work and so on, I have many childhood memories of pissing about at the lake, swimming, camping etc I would love to see it used again. At the end of the meeting I left as a member of the committee.

    Basically what came up through some research done by others is that we can't just tidy it up and that's that. We would need some sort of public liability insurance and the cost of dredging it would be in the region of 10-20k that's before we even get onto clearing the fallen trees and sort the wood out, loads of rotten branches etc. There is loads of interest from various groups in the village, the school would love it as its 5-10 minutes walk away and the cubs/scouts have said they could use it for camping and water activities.

    Has anyone had any experience of setting up a small charity for something like this? Or know of any bodies we could contact regarding grants and so on?

    Also, presumably the lake itself would have to be legally handed over to some sort of trust? The golf course have implied that they would flat out refuse to hand it over if there was a hint of any profit being made from it and any contract written up would cover that sort of thing. However It may be possible that we could offer the lake and land for private use occasionally to help cover the costs of insurances and upkeep.
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  2. Moriath

    Moriath I am a FH squatter

    Tl:dr got as far as small lake ie pond. And didnt care. Btw first day drinking since 30 dec :)
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  3. TdC

    TdC Trem's hunky sex love muffin Staff member Moderator

    tbh I would say have a chat with @Tom. this seems quite a lot like the canal restoration work he's involved in.
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  4. Scouse

    Scouse HERO! FH Subscriber

    Good on you @Raven.

    In terms of clearing / dredging - you'd have to get ecological surveys done for protected species. It might be a shit tip but animals take what they can. Fortunately lots of this sort of work has happened before so talking to people who've been involved would be a good start for all the hurdles you can encounter.

    If the scouts / schools were to use it a nominal fee could be charged that could be ploughed back into upkeep etc? How much land are you talking about?

    I daresay if it can be made self-funding then a charitable trust could be set up in a not-for-profit way that keeps it running in perpuity...

    I may be able to find people who could give you advice further down the line. But good work that man.
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  5. Raven

    Raven Brrrrr!

    Yeah, animal life is one thing that was brought up, my sister has been in touch with an aquatic biologist who has said that he would be happy to survey it (whether there is a fee involved...not sure)
  6. soze

    soze I am a FH squatter

    If it were me I would be looking at getting some formal access path / road. It would be a shame to invest time and money into getting the lake up and running and the Farmer deciding to stop access via his land. See if he would be willing to sell / rent some land at the side to use for access and build that into your costs?
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  7. Tom

    Tom FH is my second home

    It's in that condition because people can't get to it and therefore nobody cares. I'd establish a permissive footpath that leads to it (from an existing right of way like a highway or footpath). Get advice from your local council on how to build a footway, it need not be expensive. It has to be useable, not a muddy quagmire, so built with a small digger, lined and with a gravel surface or something. Nothing fancy, just enough so you don't need wellies to use it. It also should have some kind of destination, or payoff, so that people actually walk it. That could be an existing footpath, or it could be a nice view, or a circle of the lake. Think dog owners, etc. I'd forget about restoring the lake for now, focus on the decrepit bits of architecture as that's usually of more interest to locals, and it's much easier to cut back vegetation - a couple of blokes can achieve a lot.

    If you can do all of that then you can prove to other local bodies that you mean business, and perhaps then you'll get more funding for the lake.
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  8. Raven

    Raven Brrrrr!

    There is a footpath that runs about 20 metres from it so the distance isn't that great and the path around the lake is still there (but in a terrible state) and there is a path through the woods of sorts but again very overgrown.

    This is what it should look like (pictures from the 90s) As you can see there is an existing path that surrounds the lake and also goes behind the rockeries. The platform in the distance of the picture used to be a wooden summer house.

    12552943_1081700831882224_2038290170452530031_n.jpg 12540621_1081700835215557_893901042816950853_n.jpg
  9. Big G

    Big G Has a sexy sister. I am also a Bodhi wannabee.

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  10. TdC

    TdC Trem's hunky sex love muffin Staff member Moderator

    Thats quite pretty. Should be a breeze to get lots of attention for a restauration. Dont be a poop, try your local churches of all kinds, rotary, whatever you can grab tbh.
  11. Gumbo

    Gumbo FH is my second home

    Village trust first, go for charitable status later. You'll get more done before you have to jump through Charity Commission hoops. Parish Council was right to steer clear. Parish Councils really struggle to get grants. They are supposed to get their income from precepts. Get as much done through volunteers whilst enthusiasm is there. It will wane. The biggest hurdle will be getting it sorted in the first place. After that, income from the scouts/school/etc. Should be able to pay for insurance etc. Perhaps with the odd fundraiser for projects.

    Good luck.. It is really satisfying to do something like this. I got a playing field built in our village about 15 years ago. I drive past it often and it makes me feel good, no matter what other bollocks is troubling me.
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