117-year-old deregistered charity taken over in £2.6m deal

11 Oct 2023 News

Robert Morris, Russell Steed, Tina Costello and Mike Padbury

South Birmingham Friends Institute

South Birmingham Friends Institute, a 117-year-old organisation that was taken off the Charity Commission’s register, has been taken over in a £2.6m deal.

Heart of England Community Foundation has been working with the charity, which was originally set up in 1906, for several years ahead of the transfer and trustees will remain as panel members for future grantmaking.

The charity did not have any employed members of staff and was run by the trustees, therefore there have been no job cuts or redundancies.

Five residential properties each valued at £280,000 have been transferred into the foundation’s endowment as a named fund, alongside an additional £1.2m.

The foundation said the transfer was made to overcome succession challenges for the charity’s board, with the charity requiring stewardship to enable it to continue providing grants to benefit communities across south Birmingham and the wider West Midlands.

‘We have now secured a permanent legacy’

South Birmingham Friends Institute was removed from the register of charity after filing its accounts for the year to September 2021 with an income of £69,293.

Robert Morris, former chair of South Birmingham Friends Institute, said: “Being part of Heart of England Community Foundation brings stability and succession to our trust.

“We have now secured a permanent legacy for South Birmingham Friends Institute, meaning that we can continue to support disadvantaged communities in the West Midlands. 

“We are excited to work with the foundation to continue this important work over the coming years.”

Heart of England Community Foundation is now advising on the long-term benefits that community foundations can bring to struggling charities and trusts that require support. 

‘This takeover supports us to grow our investments’

Heart of England Community Foundation recorded an expenditure of £3.95m in the year to March 2022 and said it has allocated over £35m to more than 7,000 good causes since it was set up in 1995.

Tina Costello, chief executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation, said: “Succession planning is vitally important for any charity – but it is crucial to know that winding up completely is not the only option should this succession not be in place.

“South Birmingham Friends Institute is an active grant-giving charity with values that are aligned with those of the foundation and that works within the same geographical location. 

“We provided trustees with an opportunity to continue supporting disadvantaged communities across the West Midlands as well as having an active involvement in grantmaking decisions, while we manage the fund itself.

“For the foundation, this takeover supports us to grow our investments to ensure we are sustainable for the long-term benefits of communities that we support. We now look forward to working with trustees to ensure the fantastic work of the charity is continued.”

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the free Civil Society daily news bulletin here.


More on