In addition, the club was not incorporated, so the two club leaders formed a Community Interest Company, limited by shares, as the legal vehicle to take on the lease. This legal form is not charitable but does ensure community benefit is core to the business and also ‘locks in’ the asset so that there is no private benefit available to directors from the value of the lease.
The centre needed work to make it fit for purpose. The council agreed to complete outstanding maintenance pre-transfer at no cost to the club.
The club raised £25,000 to transform the building into a dedicated gymnastics facility, with secure doors, and permanent mats and other equipment. They redesigned the space to meet their needs with a reception/waiting/viewing area for parents and siblings, and a layout that allows users to change, warm up, do activities and leave the gym area all within a secure space.
The £25,000 was made up of a £20,000 loan and £5,000 in fundraising. They did not seek capital funding from the council or other funders as this would have slowed the process too much.
The club managed the building project even though they didn’t yet have full security on the building, but felt it was a reasonable risk to take. The two leaders/directors managed most of the work themselves but volunteers and parents were vital and got involved in painting, cleaning, fundraising, and lots more.
The amount raised by NCGC
In all, it took six months for negotiations and then three months to opening, which was in April 2015. Building work started in June 2015 and they started running sessions from July 2015. The club took a risk in investing in the premises, but due to the commitment and reassurance from the council, they felt it was a risk was worth taking.
Ultimately, the club got what they asked for – a long lease, permission to redesign the space, and the facility handed over in sound working order before the full repair lease began. Insurance and indemnity were bought through their British Gymnastics membership, which provided significant savings.
The final lease is a 30-year peppercorn, full repairing lease for the whole building and allows subletting.