Volunteers of all ages outdoors working for Fruit & Nut Village

Registering as a CIO: how we helped a Stirchley community food-growing project become a charitable organisation

June 14, 2022 Tags: , , , , , ,

About Fruit & Nut Village

Fruit & Nut Village is a community-led project that develops, supports and connects perennial food growing spaces such as orchards and forest gardens. It works with and educates local communities to develop ‘tree-based edible landscapes’.

Fruit & Nut Village was originally piloted in Stirchley from late 2018 to early 2020, where it is still working with residents to establish orchards, nut groves, forest gardens (‘food forests’) and edible hedges. It is now expanding into Druids Heath and Balsall Heath.

How we helped Fruit & Nut Village

Fruit & Nut Village was operating operating as part of another organisation (a community interest company) and the team wanted to register it as a CIO – a charitable incorporated organisation – in its own right. They also asked us for help with understanding the roles of trustees.

First we signposted the team to Charity Commission information on registering as a charity and setting up a constitution (governing document). Then we arranged a one-to-one session with Fruit & Nut Village to explore this further, discussing appropriate ‘objects’ to include in its constitution and how these would align with the charity’s many activities. We answered questions around selecting a registered address.

We also looked together at the roles and responsibilities of trustees. We signposted Fruit & Nut Village to many resources, including trustee induction and refresher courses, and information from NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations), Charity Commission and the Foundation for Social Improvement. Our overall aim was to help Fruit & Nut Village find and support trustees that are confident and effective in working for public benefit, acting in the new charity’s best interests and managing resources.

What Fruit & Nut Village said

“We would not have got our charity off the ground without this support. Setting up a charity looked very complex but with some steering, signposting and detailed guidance it became far simpler than initially anticipated.

“Our trustee base came largely from current volunteers and from other people close to the project.

“We are extremely grateful for the guidance we received that really allowed us to move from pilot project, dipping a toe in the water, to that of a serious, constituted CIO with a clear focus and direction.

“Setting up the charity was a drawn out and tedious process, but we got there in the end … twelve months after we first sat down to meet as a board!” – Rob Tilling, Fruit & Nut Village.

Get involved with Fruit & Nut Village

You can phone 07895 692446, email fruitandnutvillage@gmail.com and find the team on social media @fruitnutvillage. “We are always keen to hear from potential new volunteers!” Rob said.