The legal form of York Road Project has changed!

The legal form of York Road Project has changed!

Posted on: 7 October 2015 in

York Road project began from small beginnings. In the late 1900’s a group of Christians from various Woking churches began offering sandwiches and soup to people sleeping “rough”. When in 2001 Woking Borough Council offered to lease a building at 1 York Road to be used as a permanent direct access shelter, York Road Project was born and was registered as an unincorporated association with the Charity Commission. The charity has steadily grown over the years and now provides 11 direct access beds at 1 York Road together with 18 “move on” beds in four other properties in the town, as well as a thriving Day Centre.

The charity’s unincorporated legal framework meant that the charity itself could not own property or enter into contracts – such transactions were done on behalf of the charity by the trustees who retained joint and several liability for any liabilities that the charity may incur. In 2015 the trustees considered that the time had come to give the charity its own incorporated legal personality, enabling it to acquire property and to enter into contracts in its own right.

Before the Charities act of 2011 a charity wishing to become incorporated needed to become a company limited by guarantee, regulated by Companies House as well as by the Charity Commission. This imposed significant burdens on the charities, including the need to register with and report to both of these regulators. The Charities Act of 2011 created a new form of incorporated organisation specifically for charities known as a “Charitable Incorporated Organisation” (CIO) which is regulated solely by the Charity Commission, providing most of the benefits of a company (including limited liability) but without imposing many of the associated burdens.

A motion was passed at the Annual General Meeting in 2015 that the charity should apply to the Charity Commission for CIO status. Accordingly the business was transferred to the CIO on 30 September 2015 and the unincorporated association will now be wound up just as soon as all the asset transfers have been completed.

The Board of Trustees continues to be responsible for the proper conduct of the charity but the leases for the Charity’s properties are now held in the name of the CIO and not of the trustees. This in no way affects the day to day running of York Road Project which continues to be managed as before, with the same staffing structure. The Charity now has the right to sell its goods and services should it wish to do so, and to acquire further properties as its work expands.