You know your community and it’s service needs. We can help you achieve them through our local charity with support and advice on structure, governance, funding and proven self sustainable models.
We set up self sustainable carer respite groups, lunch clubs, singing groups, men in sheds projects, befriending services, knit and natter groups, walking groups and events in communities that you can easily manage.
Once a group or service has been running successfully we hand it back to the community. We evaluate the community services we set up with residents to ensure it’s value and help get more funding!
Setting Up Your Community Projects
Community groups and individuals approach us to find out more about how to set up and manage their community projects and groups. Many find this stage very difficult and so we offer an umbrella that allows your project group or service to use our charity number for structure, governance and funding applications for up to a year.
During that time we help you decide on the right structure for your group and help you find committee members or trustees. We talk about the needs of your community and help you determine which services would help overcome the obstacles you’ve identified. VASA has a lot of expertise and experience in services for the over 65’s as well as the 4 – 19 year old age group. We understand how to tackle loneliness and isolation across all age groups and which services really help.
We have helped on a variety of projects that involve setting up carer respite services, lunch clubs, befriending, one to one training on using internet shopping, banking and connecting with loved ones, we also help find funding for projects.
Projects We’ve Helped With
Here’s a small sample of the type of community projects we’ve been involved with.
VASA helped us define a structure for our community group. They put a strategy together for us to develop community services for the over 60’s in our area like carer respite and a lunch club. They also started The Big Bench Challenge! We work under their charity number for now to apply for funding but they’ve also shown us how to create self sufficient services. Next we’re tackling services for our youth!”
We know we need more hands on services for the over 65’s in Shipston on Stour and meeting Kirsty from VASA has led to us being able to secure carer respite services in our area which is great! We’re delighted with all the support and advice and the new community service.Heidi Williams
Frequently Asked Questions
What Structure Should Our Group Take?
There are several different types of structure that a voluntary or community group can take. VASA can advise groups on which structure is best for their needs. It is important that groups consider their future growth when deciding upon a structure.
In many cases we are able to suggest a suitable governing document and support the group through the set-up process.
Examples of legal structures include:
- Small unregistered charity, often referred to as a “constituted group”. This is suitable for groups with incomes of less than £5,000 per year (over £5,000 the charity must register with the Charity Commission). The majority of groups that VASA works with are small unregistered charities.
- Unincorporated registered charity, also known as a “Charitable Association”
- Incorporated registered charity
- Charitable Incorporated Organisation (“CIO”)
- Community Interest Company
- Limited company (non charitable)
- Industrial and Provident Society (“IPS”)
How Do We Find Funding?
VASA can help with seed funding and funding searches and applications as part of our service to voluntary and community groups.
How Do We Attract Volunteers?
VASA actively recruits volunteers for community projects. If you talk to us about your community project we’ll help you find the right volunteers, do their DBS checks and interview them.
We’ll ensure your project is on the right social media to attract volunteers and advertise the posts in parish publications and through our network of volunteers too. (We have over 180 volunteers so they reach a lot of people!)
Find out more about our volunteer recruitment services here.
Is Our Group A Charity?
The issue of whether a group is a charity, or not, generates a lot of confusion.
(1)For the purposes of the law of England and Wales, “charity” means an institution which—
(a)is established for charitable purposes only, and
(b)falls to be subject to the control of the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction with respect to charities.
(2)The definition of “charity” in subsection (1) does not apply for the purposes of an enactment if a different definition of that term applies for those purposes by virtue of that or any other enactment.
The Charities Act says that a charity is “an institution which is established for charitable purposes only, and is subject to the control of the High Court’s charity law jurisdiction”. This covers a broad range of groups.
The confusion arises because of the distinction between charities registered with the Charity Commission and non registered charities.
There is a common misconception that groups not registered with the Charity Commission are not charities, but if they have exclusively charitable purposes then they are charities and charity law applies to them.
If you’re not yet sure that you wish to be a charity you can use our Charity Number as one of our Community Groups to start off with. Once your project is underway and stable, we’ll help you define your structure and apply to the right bodies and find trustees or committee members.