Cllr. Naomi APPLEBY-TREMAIN
In July 2020, the Members of Tintagel Parish Council made the decision to close the Tintagel Visitor Centre, permanently. The reasons for that decision were, in the main part, based on the financial unsustainability of the centre, and the increasing burden that the year on year losses placed upon the resident of the Parish.
Historically, the building which only served the tourism industry, provided little or no support for parishioners and the decision to transform the asset into a centre for wider social benefit was, undoubtedly, a bold one.
The proposed Community Hub is intended to be a Parish Asset, which will meet the needs of the community in an effective, practical, and sustainable manner.
The aim of the project, going forward, is to use the former Tintagel Visitor Centre building to provide a wide range of opportunities and services for the residents of the Parish, and to act as a focus for community cohesion, whilst retaining the best parts of the visitors centre. Thereby serving the needs of ‘One and All’.
At present, the Parish lacks a centralised, practically focussed, information resource and suitable, small, community space. The Parish Council now has an enviable opportunity to enable the provision of a variety of information sources, and help resources, under one roof, in a manner that can benefit Parishioners
This is a dynamic and diverse project that will require not only our Clerks’ guiding hand but also the services of an administration/ project manager of its own. We will be required to appoint a paid person to undertake work on all facets of the new facility, as the setting up and management process of the asset will require a specialised set of skills in one person –the appointing of a Hub Co-ordinator/Lead Administrator. This will create not only a staffed position for visitor centre duties but also a point of contact for users of the building and robust administration.
It vital that all plans in respect of this project are effectively communicated to all persons in the Parish. It should also be understood that this administration role does not have to be an ongoing cost to the Parish Precept.
It is proposed than an appropriate hourly rate for the Administrator, is £15 and the suggested number of hours being 5 per week, with a further 3 hours being offered very generously by the applicant, free of charge. Thus, a total of 8 hours per week is the target.
The duties to be undertaken by the Administrator will include:
- social media,
- project co-ordinator
- sufficient admin and communications cover to make sure Parishioners are aware of all developments and updates by creating and up keeping social media accounts
- Facebook/twitter with the possible room for development of Tintagel Visitor app
- printed/email newsletters, vital for those without access to the internet – hybrid communication– old and new – a lovely example of a newsletter from Callington council is attached
- content management of the Parish website
- poster/flyers where needed for local events/seasonal happenings
- educational opportunity
- groups booking
- online calendar
- upkeep of visitor’s centre/community hub displays to make sure it is welcoming to all.
- providing administrative support to the Parish council/clerk as needed including assisting with grant applications
- provide an information service to visitors/tourists
- assist with setting up and organising community hub
- organising events
The applicant for the position is flexible, as to which days she would be available. However, if also offering a visitor centre service, perhaps Monday and Friday mornings would be best as they tend to be arrival days especially during the out of peak season perhaps 10 – 12.30pm?
She is also happy to do homework help, story time, GCSE course work help
It should be noted that a paid member of staff is preferred by many grant providers, as it allows more reliable and consistent progress of the project which would then be fleshed out with volunteers so as to offer full staffing.
This project will not be possible without our vital volunteers, who have already shown support for this lovely project. The selfless gift of time and kindness donated by the volunteers will be the life blood of the project, bringing the community together.
All bringing previous experience of life and business acumen to share.
Memory cafe – The setting is superb as the displays are about recalling Tintagel history. The Rotary club are able to provide us with successful working model of this project in action already in Wadebridge.
First aid courses
Bike maintenance and cycling proficiency
Singing and music groups
Kafe Konnect – offers communities education training mentorship – enable motivate inspire people back into employment – an organisation who are well suited to these times Rural poverty/lack of transport for non-car owners meaning inability to make the most pf employment opportunities meaning people here deserve more support to bridge that gulf.
Due to the ongoing pandemic situation we also have an opportunity to boost the morale of the village by having a comprehensive retraining and support centre based at the building to rapidly address any of the issues which are or may face the village as we move through these challenging times.
Debt counselling and advice
Cornwall Adult ED
University of the Third Age
Book swap / lending library
Seed share/plant sales
Genealogy and Local History Group
This list is not exhaustive
Methods of Achieving Our Aims
Consideration has been given to the means by which the aims outlined above can be achieved:
The first option involved financial investment by the Parish Council, with on-going responsibilities for costs/ shortfalls. This would, however, be supported with Grant Funding.
It is appreciated that such a proposal may not seem palatable, in light of current financial pressures.
Whilst this model may be the preferred option, an alternative proposal is as follows:
Creation of a Community Interest Company (CIC)
A community interest company (CIC) is a type of company introduced by the United Kingdom government in 2005 under the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.
What this means for the Tintagel Community Hub is that profits would be reinvested into the company and local communities to benefit individuals we support.
There are a number of both advantages and disadvantages to pursuing our aims using the CIC process.
Advantages of a community interest company:
Compared to a standard company, a CIC specifically provides several advantages:
- A clear commitment to social goals
While social aims can be prescribed in the articles of association of normal limited companies, community interest company status confers a clear commitment to a communal cause.
The statutory basis of the asset lock, which ensures that a CIC’s funds will be used for the benefit of the company’s social objectives rather than for individual shareholders, helps provide reassurance to investors and the wider public. More generally, the fact that community interest companies are subject to ongoing regulation by the CIC Regulator helps to create confidence in the integrity of a CIC.
- Access to certain forms of finance
Some donors will only give to charities or community interest companies, because of the protections these vehicles provide that funds will be used for stated purposes. Therefore, access to finance – whether through provide donors, grants or
community development finance – may lead a social enterprise to operate as a CIC rather than as a standard company.
- Limited liability and protection
The primary advantage, as for other businesses operating as a limited company, is limited liability. This provides an important element of security for those who own and manage the business.
At the same time, it provides some protection for any assets related to the social enterprise, which would not generally be available for an unincorporated entity – where they will often be held in the names of individuals.
The limited company structure, complete with directors and shareholders/members, is likely to be familiar to those responsible for running the organisation and relatively simple to operate, especially compared to a charity. It will also be readily recognised by the business community and others the company engages with – it might help, for example, to have such a known, formalised structure when dealing with government or other bodies making grants.
- Flexibility of limited company structure
The limited company structure which forms the basis of a community interest company can provide flexibility to meet the individual needs of different organisations. A CIC can be set up as a private company limited by shares, private company limited by guarantee or public limited company.
- Continuity of purpose
As a type of limited company, a community interest company has its own legal status and will therefore continue in operation – and able to provide benefit to the community – until it is dissolved or converted into a charity. Even if it is dissolved, a specific feature of the CIC model is that any residual assets (after paying off any creditors) must be transferred to another asset-locked body, like another CIC or a charity. This ensures that funds invested in a CIC will continue to benefit social or charitable ends, even if the CIC itself is no more.
- Quicker to set up
A community interest company is quicker to form than a charity, with a single consolidated application to form the company made to Companies House, which they and the CIC Regulator separately review.
- Reduced governance requirements
There is also a lower level of ongoing governance for a community interest company than a charity. While CICs are regulated by the CIC Regulator, this is comparatively ‘light touch’, with the main requirement being the submission of the annual Community Interest Report. This relative freedom from regulatory restraints means that a CIC can focus intensively on its social aims, with fewer restrictions on trading
activities than a charity faces meaning they can also take a more commercial approach to achieving their ends.
- No requirement to choose between strategic control and being paid
The founders of a community interest company can retain control over the business while being appointed and paid fairly for their work as directors of the company. As well as the founders themselves, it may be easier to attract additional high calibre individuals to the CIC through the offer of a measure of control alongside a salary set at a market rate.
- A wide range of possible social aims and specific focus on social enterprise
The social aims permissible and ways they can be pursued are wider for a CIC than a charity. The definition of community interest in the ‘Community Interest Test’ which applies to CICs is wider than the equivalent ‘Public Benefit Test’ which applies for charities. This means that many aims which would not qualify for charitable status can legitimately be pursued via a CIC.
The CIC model is specifically identified with social enterprise.
Disadvantages of a community interest company
- Formalities of incorporation
Like any standard limited company, a CIC must be registered at Companies House.
Unlike other companies, a community interest company must also submit form CIC36, signed by all the prospective directors alongside payment of a £35 fee, describing the proposed social purpose of the company and providing various other details. In order for the CIC to be established, this has to be reviewed and approved by the CIC Regulator.
- Ongoing company compliance
As a limited company, there are also a number of ongoing responsibilities to observe. Some form of accounts will need to be filed each year. There will also be a requirement to create and maintain company registers and file information with Companies House, including an annual confirmation statement and event-based submissions.
- Lack of tax breaks available
Charities are able to claim a number of tax reliefs on most income, capital gains and profits, with various schemes available – such as reclaiming gift aid on donations – which can make an important difference to the amount of money they can raise for their cause. More locally, they are typically eligible for a substantial discount on business rates.
In contrast, CICs do not receive the same tax breaks, even if their objects are wholly charitable. This means that all other things being equal, they will potentially raise less money for their cause than if they were established as a registered charity.
- Limited access to certain funding
Certain grants and other funding schemes may be open only to charities and not to community interest companies. Where businesses have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies which govern who they can donate money to, these are still likely to favour charities over other vehicles.
- Limited public awareness of the CIC model
Although the position is improving, many people – who the organisation might want to target as donors or volunteers, for example – will not be familiar with the community interest company form.
- Perceived lack of prestige
A community interest company may not appear to carry the prestige of a registered charity. Even though it is hard to put a value on, a registered charity generally carries a sense of trust that inspires confidence – and which is not fully replicated by the CIC brand.
- Restrictions on the use of assets
Alongside the dividend cap, there are also wider restrictions on how a CIC can use and dispose of its assets. By virtue of the ‘asset lock’, which must be referred to explicitly within the CIC’s articles of association, assets within the CIC must be dedicated towards benefiting the chosen community.
In practice, this usually means that the company cannot transfer its assets or profits outside the CIC for less than their full market value. Even if the community interest company is dissolved, surplus assets must be transferred to a socially focussed body, like a charity or another CIC.
- Additional governance requirements
In addition to ongoing reporting to Companies House and HMRC, a CIC must report to the CIC Regulator. This takes the form of form CIC34, the Community Interest Company Report, which must be submitted on an annual basis. To add to the extra hassle of completing this form is the fact it can only currently be completed and submitted on paper rather than electronically.
More generally, the CIC Regulator has the power to investigate and potentially take action against a CIC if there are concerns that it is not serving the specific community it was established to benefit or is otherwise in breach of CIC rules, principally the asset lock requirements.
Should the Parish Council favour the CIC option, it is requested that consideration be given by Members to the following:
- We would request that the assistance of the Clerk be provided for five hours per week;
- We would request that the Parish Council provide a sum of money towards our start up costs (the sum of £2,500 is put forward for consideration);
- It is requested that the CIC should be permitted to operate the lavatories adjacent to the TVC, in order to provide an income stream to support the Community Hub;
- It is requested that the Stock at the TVC should be donated to the CIC, so that sale of the same can generate funding for start-up costs.
- It is requested that the PC and one printer be donated to the CIC, for use at the facility.
The benefit of the CIC option to the Parish Council would be as follows:
- All costs appertaining to the running of the building would be met by the CIC, whist ownership of the facility would remain with the Parish Council as a Parish Asset;
- The building would be occupied and, in the event that an agreed profit is achieved, the Parish Council would be paid a rental sum;
- The running of the public lavatories at the site would become the responsibility of the CIC;
- The Parish Council would be providing the venue for a much-needed facility which will benefit Parishioners and tourists.
- Upgrades for heating etc. would be carried out by the CIC, utilising grant funding;
- The Parish Council would benefit from the existence of a lease.