NCVO and Social Enterprise UK
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Case Study: Whitstable Umbrella CSC

Name of organisation

Whitstable Umbrella Community Support Centre

Legal form

Charitable company limited by guarantee (CLG) with a membership structure, where the members elect the trustees.

Where, what and how

Whitstable Umbrella Community Support Centre (CSC) is a multi-purpose community facility based in the centre of a small town in Kent. A wide range of community activities take place at the Centre, including IT classes, a community cafe, a mental health support group and the provision of halls and rooms for hire. Hirers range from exercise and leisure groups through to parent and toddler groups and the town's regular farmers' market.

The charity was originally established as an unincorporated association, and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in 2001. The charity decided to incorporate because of the limited liability status it offers the trustees. It was felt at the time that the potential risks facing the trustees (the charity employs staff, the building is heavily used by the general public and the charity runs and hosts services and activities for vulnerable people) justified incorporation and outweighed the additional administration involved in running a charitable company.

Why the form fits

A CLG allows Whitstable Umbrella Community Support Centre the benefits of limited liability. Charitable status allows it to protect its social mission.