In 2008, back in the days when the Hope Specialist Service was part of the local Primary Care Trust, Hope’s volunteers and staff got together to establish the Hope Collaborative because, as an NHS service, we had no way of accepting the donations that people wanted to give us. Having started out as a tea fund, the Hope Collaborative grew and grew until, in 2011, we successfully applied to become a charity, the Hope Street Trust.
As a charity, new funding opportunities became open to us and we proactively pursued them, so that we could continue to promote and support the Hope Specialist Falls and Respiratory Service, by funding activities, equipment, projects, building alterations and anything else we could do to enhance our service users’ experience, far beyond the bare essentials that the service’s non-staff budget was able to pay for.
Since 2008, the Hope Collaborative/Hope Street Trust has raised over £470,000 and we are both very proud of what we have achieved and also incredibly grateful for the support that we have received from our members and friends of Hope during the last 15 years.
However, times are changing. The last few years have been challenging for us, as they have been for many charities. The Trust has lost several of its founding staff trustees, whilst the majority of our income streams dried up during the pandemic and, due to circumstances beyond our control, they have never opened up again.
Another significant factor is that Care Plus Group (CPG), the social enterprise established in 2011, of which the Hope Specialist Service is a part, now has its own charity, the Care Plus Group Charitable Trust (CPGCT). Part of its remit is to accept donations on behalf of CPG’s services and ring-fence them within their accounts, so that they can then be spent for the benefit of that service.
The Board of CPG have now decided that, for reasons of clarity and consistency, they would prefer all future fundraising, service promotion and activities previously funded by the Hope Street Trust to come under the umbrella of the CPGCT. Although, as trustees, we are sad that we cannot continue to support the Hope Specialist Service as an independent charity, the service is part of CPG, so they are entitled to make this decision.
The Hope Street Trust could carry on, but the Trustees have agreed that there is little point if we are no longer able to support the service as we have previously done, as that is our charity’s sole purpose. Consequently, we wrote to our current members last month, as required by our constitution and the Charity Commission, and sought their approval to wind up the charity. Members were given three weeks to respond and the result of the consultation was that the members were in favour of the proposal.
So, what happens next?
We will now begin the process of winding up the charity and we estimate that this should be completed within the next couple of months.
We had already suspended all recurring membership payments prior to the consultation and these will now be cancelled.
Our Chair met with two CPG directors earlier this year and, after discussions, the following was proposed: • Upon the winding up of the Hope Street Trust and in accordance with our constitution, the charity’s assets will be transferred to the CPGCT. We have been assured that the charity is an entirely separate entity from CPG, so in the event that the social enterprise were to fail in the future, our assets would be protected. • Our assets, both monetary and physical (such as tablet devices, air purifiers, relaxation chairs) will be ring-fenced by the CPGCT and used solely for the benefit of the Hope Specialist Falls and Respiratory Service. Any future fundraising or acceptance of donations will be done under the CPGCT banner, as will all future donations and funds raised. • A committee of Hope volunteers will be appointed to consider funding proposals submitted by Hope staff/volunteers. Once they have approved a proposal, it will go to the CPGCT trustees for final approval. We have been assured that, unless there are exceptional circumstances, this final approval should be a formality. CPG’s Finance team will then place orders and make payments on Hope’s behalf in a timely manner. The committee of Hope volunteers will also be responsible for making decisions regarding the loan or disposal of any physical assets, should they no longer be of use to the Hope Specialist Service. • Staff members, who are currently Hope Street Trust trustees, will in future undertake fundraising, service promotion and all activities benefiting the health and wellbeing of service users, which have previously been wholly or part funded by the Hope Street Trust, as part of their working week under the CPGCT banner. CPG has committed to increase the Hope Specialist Service’s budget to cover room hire costs that were previously funded through charging for sessions. • Our Chair has been invited to apply to join the CPG Charitable Trust as a trustee and has been assured that the CPG Finance team will provide her with regular income and expenditure reports on Hope’s ring-fenced assets, which she will share with the Hope spending committee.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and sadly this is the end for the Hope Street Trust. If we were to write a list of names of all the people who have supported us during the last 15 years, it would be an incredibly long list. Our charity has been a great force for good and we could not have achieved what we did without you, so thank you all, both for your support and for the wonderful memories.