Transition to charitable status
The 2018 Annual Conference approved the principle of exploring other structures for CHE, including becoming a grant-awarding trust. A key aim of such a trust would be the continuing research into CHE's history, and the publication of further volumes of Amiable Warriors. The implications were discussed in our 2019 Annual Report, and debated at our Annual Conference on 14 December 2019, which called for the setting up of a 'trust' or equivalent to inherit CHE's funds and support the continued Amiable Warriors project and other other projects related to LGBT+ history.
In 2021 the seven EC members, plus the three Trustees, formed themselves into a Transition Team, meeting monthly online via Zoom and chaired by our Trustee Michael Steed, with support from our Secretary, Peter Burman, and Treasurer, Ross Burgess. The Transition Team has looked into how to form such a 'trust' and in whether it should be a registered charity. We have held initial discussions with a solicitor and with the LGBT Consortium, which have clarified considerably the way forward.
The question of charitable status for CHE had been raised previously, notably when we received Derek Oyston's legacy. At that time it was rejected for three reasons:
- charitable status would be incompatible with our campaigning activity
- the reporting requirements were thought to be very onerous
- only organisations with an income over £5,000 a year could be registered
However since 2013 it has been possible to form a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with much less stringent reporting requirements, and no £5000 limit; and the new charity would not be undertaking political campaigning.
In March 2021 the Transition Team unanimously voted to set up a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), the CHE Research Trust (CHERT), to be registered with the Charity Commission. CHE will transfer its funds to CHERT, with a view to CHE being wound up in its existing form. Existing CHE members will become Associate Members of the CIO.
We now aim to set up a CIO, transfer CHE's assets to it, and wind up CHE in its current form, during 2021.
The Transition Team has drafted a 'Vision for CHERT', intended (if adopted by the final CHE Conference) to record CHE members' views as to how CHERT's Board of Trustees might carry out the objects below.
On 28 July 2021 CHERT's application for charity status was formally submitted to the Charity Commission.
The proposed Objects Clause for the CIO, drafted by the Transition Team, and amended in the light of legal advice, is as follows:
The objects of the CIO are, for the public benefit:
- to promote education about the history of the struggle for LGBT+ rights, including but not limited to the origins and history of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality;
- to promote equality and diversity by encouraging a deeper understanding of the causes and progress of changes in public acceptance of LGBT+ rights; and
- to contribute to the safe preservation of LGBT+ archives.
For more about CHERT, see its website, www.chert.org.uk.