Setting up Canal & River Trust

Published: Wednesday, 23 November 2011

WITH so much at stake for boaters with the new Canal & River Trust, it is important that they have as much information as they can, which is not forthcoming from British Waterways, so we are including the following.

Having read the articles regarding British Waterways trying to set up a charity called the Canal & River Trust, and the comments in your pages, may I clarify a few points, writes Peter Ponting.

Number of documents

I have helped set up a number of small charities in the past, so I know how the Charity Commission works. In order to become accepted as a charity, British Waterways will have to produce a number of documents, which will be freely available to the public.
The first document will be their 'Objects' This will be shown on the Charities Commission web site.

The 'Objects' give a brief description of what they are set up to achieve, and how they will achieve it. This I am afraid can be very vague.

How charity is run

The second document is called the Governing Document. In a large Corporation it will be Memorandum and Articles of Association. This document tells you how the charity is to be run.

The Governing Document tells you how to become a member of the charity, your voting rights at an Annual General Meeting and how to elect the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee, once elected, then amongst themselves will vote, a chairperson, an honorary secretary and an honorary treasurer.

Entitled to vote

This document will be the backbone for all licence paying customers of British Waterways to use. If I paid £700 a year for a licence I would like to consider myself a member of the new charity. Therefore at an AGM I should be entitled to a vote.

However, as I suspect, the legal team at British Waterways will have already thought of this. They can for example say the number of members will be limited to 12, followed by the number of members on the Executive Committee will be no more than 12.

Open to all licence payers

To enable licence payers a say in the future charity, it is crucial that the Charities Commission is aware, that the membership of the new charity is open to all licence payers.

Act now. You only have one chance

Peter Ponting (Peewee) Saul Junction Marina