Posts Tagged ‘News’

Hart Allotments becomes an Industrial and Provident Society (a co-operative)

The Hart Allotments management team have been advised to make the association more formal.  We therefore consulted with Hart Council and the Hart Voluntary Action Group to find out the best way to take this forward.  At the AGM in 2012 the green light was given by those present that the Association could become an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) when the time was appropriate.  An IPS is what used to be known as a Co-operative.  This status was considered appropriate as Cooperatives work on the basis that they really only benefit their own members (which in our case will be plot holders) rather than the community as a whole.

The management team considered that the timing was now right and applied to become an IPS.  In order to become an IPS the easiest way is to be sponsored.   As we are already members of the National Allotment Society (and pay a subscription to them based on the number of members that we have) we approached this organisation for sponsorship.  In doing so we signed up to adopt the National Allotment Society’s model rules and constitution.  (These can be amended later if the amendments are proposed and voted on at subsequent AGMs.)  As an IPS we also need to pay an annual fee to the Financial Conduct Authority (the amount that we pay depends upon our turnover) and produce audited accounts.

We needed to become more formal as we need to sign leases with farmers/council and contracts with plot holders.  Money will therefore be changing hands and we need to ensure that procedures are in place to protect plot holders and the management team.

Apart from the managing team (consisting of a President, Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and management committee members), an IPS needs members.  These will normally be plot holders.   Only members of Hart Allotments will be entitled to take out tenancy agreements.

The fee for Membership of Hart Allotments Ltd includes:

  • A share certificate for each new member.  This entitles the member to a nominal share in the society for the duration of their membership; and the right to vote at the AGM.
  • The obligatory membership fee for the National Society of Allotments & Leisure Gardeners Ltd.
  • Administration, insurance & legal costs for Hart Allotments Ltd (see financial reports prepared for AGM for expenditure & activity)

Membership fees are subject to review at future AGMs.  See Useful Info for details of annual membership costs.

Hart Allotment Association becoming a Community Interest Company

The Hart Allotments Association are still meeting regularly with the Council regarding allotments – particularly for the Fleet area. Discussions are progressing well.

We have been informed that the application from the developers to build 157 more houses on the Edenbrook estate (on Hitches Lane) has been postponed for a few months. This application we believe will include provision for allotments to be accessed from Pale Lane (rather than Hitches Lane). This means that it will now be November at the earliest before we hear if these allotments will go ahead.

In the meantime the Council have advised us that in order for Hart Allotments Association to have an agreement with the Council (so that we can lease the land) we need to become a Community Interest Company (CIC). A CIC is a company registered with Companies House that ensures that any monies the Association has is for the benefit of its members and is non-profit making. This requires us to have Directors, produce accounts and statements of activity etc. There are a number of options available, but a “Company Limited by guarantee with a large membership” is thought to match our circumstances best. If the CIC is wound up in the future then the Directors would only be liable for a nominated amount which is normally £1.

Here’s where you can help!

Currently there are three of us Sally (Chairperson), Dave (Treasurer) and Sylvia – (Secretary) who are prepared to become Directors. However, it would be preferable if we had more Directors of the CIC to take an active role.

If anyone is interested in becoming a Director and would like further details of what’s involved, please send us an e-mail. Indeed if there is anyone who has any experience in this area, then we’d appreciate you getting in touch.

New Website

We have a new website and we would really like to know what you think about the new design.

Please let us know.