The development of the Trust Fund originated from the two councils of the Devon and Cornwall and Western Regions. In assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the regions it was clear that many local associations were highly dependent on external funding. This was of particular concern in the light of a growing trend in government policy away from grant aid to charitable bodies. The national YMCA itself was struggling to meet increasing demands placed upon it and could not be seen as a source of revenue.
We therefore began to seek ways of generating our own funds based on one of our strengths of attracting a unified approach and a common purpose. The South West YMCA Trust Fund was set up in May 1989 in order to promote the general purposes of the YMCA Movement in the South West of England. In addition to seeking financial help from individuals and other trust funds the main source of income in the early days came from a small trading company called Tri-Activ UK. We worked closely with the Norwegian YMCA and assisted local YMCAs throughout the country in their merchandising requests.
The revenue this company produced enabled the Trustees to collaborate with the national YMCA in developing a Charity Shops network. This included seconding our staff and setting up an agreement by all interested parties so that all Charity Shops operating within the two regions, would come under an informal partnership between the national YMCA and the Trustees of the Trust Fund.
How has the Trust fund worked?
Early 2000, the Trust Fund was controlled by a maximum of ten individual Trustees, eight of whom were appointed on the recommendation of the then Regional Executive ensuring that four were from each of the old YMCA regional designated areas. The Trustees had power to appoint two of their own members to provide for special expertise which was from time to time required.
The Trust remains an approved Charity and registered with the Inland Revenue for the reclamation of tax.
The Trustees originally set a capital base target of £100,000 and achieved this by spring of 1996. It has more recently set a policy of continuing to build up its capital base to counter inflation whilst releasing a set percentage of its annual revenue for grants purposes. This percentage can vary dependent on income and need.
The Trustees meet twice a year, normally in May and November. All major grants are considered at this time. It does have however, a procedure for dealing with smaller grants request and emergencies.
To ensure that the Trustees remain adequately informed of the current position of the YMCA in the South West of England, they invite a representative of the Chief Executive Officers serving in the South West of England, to attend their meetings and advise where necessary. This also helps the Trustees keep abreast of emerging issues and trends.
As from 1st April 2013 the Trust Fund had no further involvement with the Charity Shop operation in the South West Area. From that date onwards, all local Associations with Charity Shops related directly to the YMCA England National Shops Department.