How Climate Action Wendover, a community organisation focused on reducing the carbon footprint of the local area, accessed free support to set up solid governance for the future.

The background

Climate Action Wendover (CLAW) is a community group of local residents who are concerned with the impact of climate change and want to focus on initiatives to help households and business to reduce their impact on the environment. Through direct action projects and advocacy work, CLAW has built its supporter base and profile, and has been mentioned in Parliament during a COP 21 debate. With the increasing reach the charity has, it was decided to review the organisation’s governance to best support the ongoing activity and its future aspirations.

The challenge

Charity governance can be an incredibly complex subject and expert advice is encouraged to ensure that an organisation has the appropriate structure to deliver its services, as well as remaining robust and accountable. Various factors such as management structure, property ownership, sources of income have a crucial impact on the structure that an organisation uses.

In this instance, CLAW wanted support from Community Impact Bucks in order to ensure that the route it took was the best one to take the organisation into the future as its impact increased.

The solution

The first step that CLAW took was to complete the Healthcheck tool to get an accurate picture of where the organisation was at in terms of its structure and management.

The Healthcheck tool highlighted a number of points that the organisation wanted to focus on when deciding upon a governance structure:

  • Is our Constitution strong enough and does it cover everything we need?
  • What type of organisation should we be – charity, CIO, or another?
  • Do we want our membership to make decisions or just the Trustees?
  • What additional or stronger procedures do we need to have in place?

These points formed the basis of a tailored support session with Community Impact Bucks and ensured the group received relevant, bespoke guidance.

“Before I contacted Community Impact Bucks I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know. Having completed their questionnaire I already had an idea of what I needed to know and once I’d spoken to them I had a direction, references to more research, some answers and most of all someone friendly to help. I found their service exceptional.” – Paul Frost – Climate Action Wendover

The result               

Following the Healthcheck and the subsequent support session, CLAW decided to go down the route of becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), and its application is currently with through the Charity Commission.

This new governance structure will provide a robust foundation on which CLAW can build upon its activity and continue to deliver on its mission.

Further Information

Updated on February 21, 2023

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society