Some of the charity trustees at Ashmore Park Community Association

Having confidence in your local charity

We’ve just spotted a charity commission report stating that public trust and confidence in charities has fallen from 6.7 in 2014 to 5.7 out of 10 in 2016.

As The Hub is run by a charity (Ashmore Park Community Association) we wanted to give a brief summary of how we raise money and where it goes, so that you can have confidence in us!

Confidence in Charities Falls

The charity commission recently published a report stating that public trust and confidence in charities has fallen from 6.7 in 2014 to 5.7 out of 10 in 2016.

The report found that the drop can be attributed to critical media coverage of charity practices, distrust about how charities spend donations and a lack of knowledge among the public about where their donations go.

How do we raise income & where does it go?

Ashmore Park Community Association’s primary source of income is room hire; we manage The Hub and deal with the room bookings.

Everyone who runs a class, course, lesson or activity pays room hire. What people and organisations pay depends on who and what they are; we have a sliding scale for different community groups and businesses. This means a group of pensioners meeting to ‘knit and natter’ don’t pay the same as a business running a seminar, or a football club which charges people attend coaching sessions. We think this is pretty fair.

We also raise some money from the community cafe we run, but this essentially go towards the running costs – we don’t make a profit from this. The only reason we’re able to make the cafe work is down to it being run by volunteers – if we had to pay the staff, it wouldn’t be economical to run with the current prices.

Occasionally we will bring in income in the form of grants from funders such as Wolverhampton City Council or the National Lottery – this is always project specific and will pay for equipment or running costs of certain activities.

The money raised by the Charity goes directly back into The Hub; currently we are asked by the city Council (who own the building) to contribute 50% of the building’s running costs. This includes things such as gas, electricity, water, phone & internet, cleaning and caretaking, as well as some repairs, maintenance, improvements and upgrades to the building.

In addition to this, we also pay for all of the furniture and equipment in the building, such as chairs, tables, electrical items, stationery and kitchen equipment. (*It’s worth noting that the Library which is located within the building pay for their own costs / equipment.)

We also spend money holding events and activities like our Easter, Summer, Halloween & Christmas events – these have a direct benefit to the community, so we spend some charity funds making them happen and often they are completely free to attend. We have also supported initiatives such as sponsoring a local kids football team and funded a Blue Plaque on the building to celebrate the area’s heritage.

As per charity commission rules, our accounts are audited each year and published in our annual report. This information is available for all to see on the Charity Commission website here.

Who Makes The Decisions?

The Community Association has a management committee which is made up of people who run activities at The Hub and also includes independent representation from the local community.

All of the major decisions are made by the committee, who are the trustees of the charity (you can see a list of names on the Charity Commission website). Each year we hold an annual general meeting where the committee is elected and key roles like Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary are voted on.

Nobody involved with the Community Association is paid for being a member of the committee, everyone is a volunteer and gives their time freely.

Hopefully this explains how we raise funds, what we spend them on and who makes these decisions. And hopefully trust and confidence in us is higher than 5.7 out of 10!

2016 marked our 20th year as a charity and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved. We’re incredibly grateful for all of the support we get, here’s to another 20 years!


  1. Saffi Price says:

    Thanks for a good piece James. Sadly, I think the fall in public confidence in charities has been brought about largely due to a few larger charities’ fund raising techniques and one or two highly publicised closures of charities. However, it is incumbent upon all of us who believe in our sector to be both accountable and to celebrate the great work that is achieved. Mostly this is exhibited in small, locally accountable charities, voluntary sector organisations and community groups. Ashmore Park Community Association is one of our City’s shining examples of what a group of committed and enterprising citizens can do when they volunteer their time to make a difference in their community.

    • James Clarke says:

      Thanks for the kind words Saffi (I might quote you on that!).

      I agree that the distrust is mainly of larger orgs because people feel they don’t see where the money they donate goes. I think it’s the responsibility of all charities to tell the story of the impact they’re having and that’s something we try to do with The Hub’s social media profiles particularly.

      Admittedly, this is sometimes hard to do – but if we can do this, local people are not only more likely to donate/spend money with us than they are a national or international charity, but they feel more connected to their local community.

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