Revitalising Trusts Programme
What is the Revitalising Trusts Programme?
The Revitalising Trusts Programme was set up to ensure funds from inactive or dormant charitable trusts are ‘unlocked’ and spent on good causes across the UK.
UK Community Foundations is working in partnership with the Charity Commission and DCMS to enable this to happen.
For this programme, the Charity Commission has defined an inactive or dormant trust as one which has:
- Not spent any money in the last five years.
- Spent less than 30% of its income in the last five years.
Even though many of these trusts are very small, collectively the funds hold a significant amount which could make a huge difference to local communities if we are able to revitalise them.
The programme has been running since 2018 and in that time, it has revitalised over £30million of inactive funds. This money has been distributed to UKCF, local community foundations and other charities, who have spent it on crucial community projects throughout the country.
How does it work?
Many trusts find that they are struggling to distribute their income on the public benefit. This can happen for a number of reasons, but the main problems seem to be:
- Finding new trustees.
- Identifying beneficiaries.
- Having the time to run the charity.
- Objects which are outdated or too restrictive.
If your trust has been struggling to spend money in the last five years, you will receive an email or letter from the Charity Commission. This will outline your choices which include:
- Transferring your assets to another charity, such as UKCF or a local community foundation.
- Winding up your charity.
- Changing your purposes to continue working more effectively.
If the Charity Commission doesn’t hear from you at this stage, your details will be passed to UKCF who will be in contact to discuss your options. UKCF can help with whichever choice you feel is best for your organisation, and as the trusted partner of the Charity Commission, we will support you throughout the whole process.
Why should I work with UKCF or a community foundation?
Community foundations are rooted in their local communities. They have a long history of managing thousands of funds and they successfully distribute tens of millions of pounds each year, supporting good causes and grassroots organisations. Community foundations have an unmatched knowledge of their areas, evidenced by their abilities to match donors and partners with important local causes.
Our network has been chosen by the Charity Commission and DCMS as a partner in this programme, thanks to our due diligence process and ability to distribute money quickly, simply and effectively.
Depending on your situation, you could retain control over where your funds are spent, have a named fund or decide not to be involved at all.
“I was a little sceptical at first, as I didn’t want our family trust to lose its identity; I wanted it to continue in the way that we had set it up and to retain some involvement in where the money was spent. To my relief, when I discussed my concerns with the foundation, I discovered that they were as keen as I was to ensure that the fund stayed true to its purpose and that I could remain as involved as I wanted.”
(A donor who transferred a charitable fund in her father’s name to Essex Community Foundation)
What process is involved in transferring assets to a community foundation?
If you are interested in transferring your funds to UKCF or a local community foundation, we will guide you through the process.
Each trust is different; some transfers will be quick and easy, while others will involve much paperwork, lots of meetings and plenty of effort. This means it is difficult to say how long it will take or what exactly the process will look like for you, but it may be something like this:
Trustees struggling to distribute funds
Trustees decide to close trust
UKCF supports Trust to change objectives and close
Money is distributed to CFs
Money changes lives by supporting local charities to do amazing work
Once the transfer is complete, UKCF or your local community foundation will be responsible for all paperwork, investments and reports.
I would like to retain some control over where the funds from my trust go – can I still do this?
This is something we strive to do wherever possible – many trustees are very keen to hear where their funds have been spent or to be involved in decisions. UKCF and the local community foundations can provide reports updating you on which projects you have supported, as well as allowing you to have a say wherever possible.
You may be able to retain the name of a fund in some circumstances. We will work closely with you to ensure your needs are met, but we will also be realistic and advise you if some things are not possible. We will always try to find the best solution for both parties.
What happens if I don’t respond to the letter I receive from the Charity Commission?
If you don’t respond within the timeframe specified on the letter, the Charity Commission will write to all of your trustees requesting that you contact them. They will ask for information about how you plan to increase spending or transfer your assets to another charity.
If you don’t respond at that point, the Charity Commission may use their regulatory powers under the Charities Act 2011. This may mean removing all of your trustees and appointing UKCF as the sole trustee.
UKCF will then be able to transfer all remaining funds to either UKCF or a local community foundation if this is in the best interests of the charity to do so. Your charity’s funds will be used by UKCF for the same or similar charitable aims. After any transfer, your charity will be removed from the Register of Charities because it will have ceased to operate.
Whatever your decision, we would urge you to contact either UKCF or the Charity Commission as soon as possible so we know you are taking action in the best interests of your charity.
I did not receive a letter from the Charity Commission, but I am struggling to manage my trust. Can I still transfer my assets to UKCF?
UKCF can support any trust to transfer their assets either to us or their local community foundation if this is something you wish to do. You don’t need a letter from the Charity Commission to do this.
We have already supported numerous trusts in transferring to either UKCF or one of the local community foundations. We are able to invest your funds alongside our own assets, making your money go further. We are then able to support projects on a local and national level which meet your charitable objectives – revitalising your funds so they are making a difference in your community once again.
For this service, UKCF will charge a fee which will be charged on any funds transferred, therefore if there is no transfer, there is no fee. Fees are dependent on the amount of work involved:
- A simple transfer involving only the writing of a declaration and simple updating of charitable objects / geographical area, will be £250
- A transfer requiring more substantial work, such as negotiations with trustees, speaking to banks etc, will be up to 5% of asset value
- A transfer requiring significant work unlocking bank accounts, support with selling properties/other assets, helping with land issues etc. will be up to 7% of asset value.
Capital asset is £50,000 and it is just standard paperwork for transfer = £250
Capital asset is £50,000 (with medium input) – fee is therefore 5% of £50,000 = £2,500.
Capital assets is £50,000 (with significant input) – fee is therefore 7% of £50,000 = £3,500.
Please note that charges for community foundations are lower. If you are from a community foundation, please contact Laura on the details below to discuss this.
To discuss the Revitalising Trusts Programme further, please contact Laura Cameron Long, Revitalising Trusts Programme Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.