Biomakespace Forum

Biomakespace planning to apply for charitable status: feedback on objectives

(Jenny Molloy) #1

Hi All

Those who have attended meetings recently will be aware that Biomakespace is planning to apply for charitable status. We are currently a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and the main reason for becoming a charity is to access funding streams that are not available to us without charitable status e.g. from other charitable foundations. The Directors of the exisiting company (Jenny Molloy, Roger Mason, Katia Smith-Litiere and Abi Wood) have been talking through the options with a lawyer and we have two legal structures to choose from:

  1. Charitable company limited by guarantee: most similar to our current structure, we would be registered as both a charity with the Charities Commission and a company with Companies House.
  2. Charitable Incoporated Organisation: in this case we would register only with the Charities Commission, not Companies House. The administration should be simpler but because it is a newer type of organisation it can sometimes be more difficult to figure out the rules.

In either case:

  • we will maintain a trading company for activities that could support the space and its charitable objective financially but are not themselves charitable e.g. hiring use of the space to companies, renting out pay-as-you-go time on equipment, our eBay shop.
  • we need a set of charitable purposes or objectives

More information on the forthcoming stucture and governance changes forthcoming and we welcome any thoughts or feedback. Right now, we are looking for any feedback on the charitable objectives. You’ll remember back in 2016 we consulted and voted on our company objectives which was a really useful process. In this case there are some contraints on what counts as charitable purpose (see here and here) so we can’t stray too far from those. Here is what we have so far and we welcome comments:

Object 1 – To advance the education of those working, or otherwise interested, in the fields of biology and engineering by creating opportunities for those in each field to share knowledge, skill and expertise with those working in the other or neither, in particular by promoting the operation of shared workspaces where they are able to work with or in proximity to one another.

Object 2 – To advance the education of people who, for whatever reason, are unable to access facilities for working in the fields of biology and engineering, by providing them with access to facilities to enable them, whether by working alone or in collaboration with others, to gain practical experience which would otherwise be denied them.

Object 3 – To promote the advancement of science, in particular in areas of research involving both biology and engineering, by any means, including the provision of shared workspace where researchers may collaborate on interdisciplinary research.

Object 4 – To advance the education of the public on the subjects of biology and engineering and the interaction between the two, in particular by holding public lectures and workshops.

We are still considering adding geographic restrictions on the people who are our target beneficiaries and we’re taking advice on that.

Thanks for taking a look, let us know what you think via the forum or and we’ll update with further information soon!


(Matt) #2

I think I the objects seem great and I think either status would be a great addition to the Biomakespace message and operation, however the worrier in me likes the ‘backwards compatibility’ of being both non-profit company and charity. As it avoidels the risk of not being understood by being a novel form of charity. That said, its not hard to argue either way!