The people of South Norwood take a bow. All those years of voluntary work have been recognised and the Charity Commission has granted SPI charitable status (yippee).
This month, SPI was registered as a charitable incorporated organisation – a new form of charity particularly suited to the type of structure needed to run major projects such as these extensive public halls. It removes a cumbersome level of bureaucracy and allows organisations to focus on the task in hand – making a project like this one live and breathe!
Carol Clapperton is the Chair of our trustees’ board:
“We are all thrilled that we have obtained charitable status – and were really pleased it came through so quickly. We have to thank the officers at Croydon Council for working closely with us to get our charity registered, and the Commission for its timely response.”
The new status means we will be able to sign the lease agreement after a few final negotiations and some essential works to the Halls by the council. Anyone who came along to fabulous Steve Knightley gig a few weeks back will be aware of the problem of the collapsed drains limiting toilet facilities, but the works are now in hand.
We and the council are eager to transfer the lease on the Halls and get them fully open to the public so they can become a vibrant hub in the area. Until the handover there will be occasional public events, which we are managing, this is a great way for us volunteers get valuable experience of how the Halls tick. Stanley Halls will open to regular hirers when we formally take on the lease and can provide a full management service. This should be during the Summer.
“Now it really feels as if the community is going to take management of Stanley Halls. It may have looked to outsiders as bit of a pipe dream, but it is finally going to happen. We just need the Halls to be in a fit enough state for us to open the doors to the public, and the council has those works in hand. We owe a huge thanks to our large band of supporters; together we have built this community-led charity from nothing and soon Stanley Halls will once more fulfil its potential.
The Charity Commission is rigorous in its scrutiny so our board is delighted that the new status was agreed so quickly. Unusually, and due to a historical quirk, we have formed the second charitable trust in relation to Stanley Halls, which could have slowed the application down. The initial trust was set up in 1905 by Halls founder, William Ford Stanley, and is currently administered by Croydon Council. Council officers, worked closely us and supported the Commission with its enquiries to show how the two trusts could work together and would be of benefit to the local community.
Now we need to hear from hirers. Tell us what you want to do in the Halls and we can start scheduling events. Contact us here.