In April 2016, About With Friends became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

A CIO is a recently established legal form designed specifically for charities. The CIO was created in response to requests from charities for a new structure which could provide some of the benefits of being a company, but without some of the burdens.

Under the old “unincorporated association”, AWF had to abide by the following rules:

  • trustees are personally liable for what it does – including financial if it is proven that the trustees have mismanaged affairs
  • are unable to enter into some contracts or control some investments
  • trustees (two or more), a corporate custodian trustee or the charities’ land holding service will have to ‘hold’ any land on your charity’s behalf
  • would require trustees to be on land registry and own property on behalf on charity but not benefit from sale

As a newly-formed CIO however, AWF benefits in the following ways:

  • own its own land / property
  • control substantial funds or assets
  • enter into contracts, for example employing staff
  • engage in charitable activities involving financial risks
  • have a constitution as a governing document

Will how we are governed be changed?

At AWF we have a Trustee board who oversee the strategic direction of the charity and finances and a wider membership – our members,  who vote on constitutional issues, including ratifying the Trustees each year. The charity commission recommends using the association model constitution – for this structure.

Trustees cannot be employed by the charity so the CEO will no longer be a trustee

The Trustees went through the model constitution and have noted no conflicts to how we currently work.  In fact the constitution gives Trustees and the charity more freedoms and flexibilities than currently available. The final draft has been accepted by the Charity Commission, if you would like a copy please contact us.

I haven’t seen D for ages and he looks like a new man . The stress has gone from his face – he looks great Well done !!!!

Over the last five years I have had a fortnightly, 2 hour designated gardening slot. I highly value your service and ethos.

AWF offers and amazing, caring, supportive group to both special needs adults/children & their families. Since N joined you he has been to some fantastic places, met some amazing friends and done activities we would never have thought he’d do. You have helped our family life improve by making N a happier, more content, confident boy.

It was a massive decision for his family to make and by choosing AWF it means they trust totally in the service. I am of the opinion that AWF is the only provision in the county for D and he is very happy to attend.

I always have a smile on my face after a day with the members of the team. They are all individuals and each, in their own way, bring joy to my life. They are all much appreciated and I enjoy the gardening of course!

Just a short note to thank you all for your help with our daughter. she has spent many years at school with little improvement in her behaviour and speech, yet in just a few weeks she has been with you guys the improvements in both areas are plain to see.

I am not sure what the different methods used are but please continue as you are, as life at the moment for us as a family is greatly improved because of your input.

We are very aware of her complex needs and how she can change like the wind but we will continue to enjoy the fruits of your labours.

I just cannot thank you enough for taking K my daughter so that she could have fun with her friends on holiday in Milton Keynes, […] it made her extremely happy.

Selfishly for me it gave my wife a much sought after period of respite exhausted after 16 years of constant care. Complete respite is dependent upon the knowledge that your child is in safe professional caring hands. The ‘about with friends’ staff impress me because they display such enthusiastic vocational attitudes towards their care.

A big thank you to yourself and the About with Friends staff for another great trip! J had a fantastic time, going on the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which he had wanted to do for ages and ages.

Many thanks again for J’s lovely break in Derbyshire with About with Friends. He really enjoyed himself, had loads of fun and told us all about the cable cars, stepping stones, cinema, meals out, etc.! We would be very grateful if you could pass on our sincere thanks to all the staff who organised the holiday and supported our youngsters to enable them to have such a wonderful time. We are also very grateful as we, ourselves, were able to enjoy a short break in Paris, which was wonderful and recharged our batteries!

This is the best transition I have had for a student in the whole five years I have taught 6th formers!