Wow, you won’t believe what just happened!!!

OK, so how else was i going to make you open an update about paperwork! Click-bait ahoy!!!

Does anybody have a particular penchant for paperwork? Please come forward! We have lots to do! If anyone can pop their heads up and say ‘i’ll help with that one’ that would be really appreciated. Even if you only have an hour or two to do a bit of research one evening and send in your findings, that would be great! So before you fall asleep half way through this update and close the page 😉 please please find one that sparks your interest and contribute, whether it is funding, how moorings are run or how to pitch our project. Please please please!

In no particular order…

The ‘vision’ document for Scottish Canals and eventually funders/others: Steve Dunlop requested a very clear and detailed vision document detailing the vision for Community Moorings and their structure and governance. So i have made a start and if you are feeling helpful, please click on this link and add comments to help with the text etc. We already have this document which was sent through to SC to kick things off, but it needs more meat.

Incorporation: after a very useful meeting with Business Gateway’s social enterprise advisor, a fairly clear way forward in terms of structure and governance has appeared. The plan is to incorporate ‘Community Moorings Scotland’ as a Scottish Incorporated Charitable Organisation (SCIO).  Yes it is a mouthful but here is why it works:

  • It avoids registering twice and having to report to companies house and a charity regulator as most charities have to. You only deal with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).
  • It restricts the operation of the Community Moorings company to operating moorings and reinvesting any profits for the good of the moorings and other canal-related uses that we define (do we want to fund maintenance???).
  • Charitable organisations are heavily regulated and thus transparency and focus is achieved
  • Charitable organisations are more likely to receive funding for their purposes

In addition to this it is proposed to incorporate the land-based enterprise as a Community Interest Company (CIC). A CIC is a unique type of social enterprise that sits in a gap between charities and commercial businesses. CIC’s are free to trade, to respond to opportunities and in many ways behave like a corporate entity. There are however, two key differences:

  1. Assets owned by the company are held in an asset lock which secures those assets to applications for the good use of community.
  2. Limitations applied to dividend and interest payments made to shareholders and financiers ensure a profit can be made, but the primary focus remains on achieving benefit for the community

Funding bids: it is time to bring some money in to get this going! I have already completed a bid for the Central Scotland Green Network ‘Ideas Fund’. If you like, you can read the application here. I’ll find out shortly if we have been shortlisted for the Dragons-Den style pitch on 21st June. This is a bit of a ‘punt’ but it is a smallish pot of money (£5000) and it is particularly aimed at projects at early stages. Also, if short-listed for a pitch, it forces me to get the vision document sorted and get a pitch sorted! All useful things going forward. I have also been to meet the West Lothian Leader Funding committee who are very keen on us putting in an expression of interest and we could perhaps aim towards the Autumn deadline for a bid. I think we would have a good chance of up to £100,000 from them. The useful thing with Leader funding is that although like most funding they will only pay 50%, it is possible to get the other 50% from another funding pot e.g. Big Lottery Fund or the Heritage Lottery Fund (West Lothian is one of the 3 priority development areas for this fund).

Constitutions and Terms: For the SCIO and CIC company structures we have to write up our constitution and define charitable goals etc. Does anyone have experience of this? We will also require to create our own terms of how moorings are used and we need to go back to step 1 and consider the current SC rules for moorings and how we want to adapt these. Do we want to enforce overstaying on moorings? Do we want to be strict about mess? Do we want to allow sub-letting etc etc. The vibe from Katie Hughes is to have the rules and regulations as close as possible to theirs but let’s look at whether this works for us and how we would like our moorings to run…

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