Community Matters to close: the end of an era

March 15, 2016

A statement released today by respected Charity Community Matters..

Dear Community Matters Members, and Other Friends and Supporters

 cm logo

I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of Trustees to inform you that regrettably Community Matters is to be wound up after more than 70 years of support to the community sector. Members have been invited to attend an Extraordinary General Meeting on 31st March. If you are a member and haven’t received notice of the EGM please contact us urgently by email. You will I am sure be well aware of the financial challenges many organisations in our sector have faced in recent years, indeed many of you will have confronted similar challenges.  In 2011-12 we faced a more than 50% fall in our income and the new Chief Executive Graham Willmington with our Director of Enterprise Richard Bridge drew up a new 3-year business plan for 2013-16 with the aim to bring the organisation out of deficit through earned income alone. In the first two years the strategy paid off and we saw a healthy recovery of income over expenditure.  This year however the tide has turned.  The reasons are simple enough.  Aside from income from membership, which continues to hold up strongly, the bulk of income has been earned from consultancy, training and our quality tools delivered either to direct clients or under government programmes. Our most important client groups have been the local authorities who have much less to spend and of course our members who also have less money than in previous years.

The Board has monitored the finances carefully throughout this financial year and has reluctantly recognised that the organisation was no longer sustainable financially and that as Company Directors it was our responsibility to conclude that the organisation should be wound up.  This was not an easy decision and was arrived at only after careful consideration and with the benefit of professional guidance.

You may wonder why we have not entered into a merger.  We have explored this twice in recent years, but the reality is that saddled as we are with a pension deficit in excess of £330,000 it is of no surprise that no organisation has been willing to take on that liability.

In the last weeks the Chief Executive has been working on a legacy plan to find new host organisations for our key services.  Good progress has been made and we hope to make an announcement by the end of this month.   Read our recent Impact Assessment to find out why it is important to continue what we have started. I am delighted that the Bishopsgate Institute will be setting up the Community Matters Archive with our documents, newsletters, publications, films and photos dating throughout most of our 70 year history and this will be available in due course for study and research.

Finally I want to express on behalf of the Board and of our members our immense gratitude to Graham Willmington Chief Executive, to Richard Bridge Director of Enterprise, to Subita Begum our Finance and Membership Officer and we send our very best wishes to them all for the future.  It is an especially difficult time for staff faced as they are with redundancy, but they have not wavered in their commitment to ensuring the best achievable outcome.  I thank my fellow trustees Sheela Hammond, Joan Asby and Julian Hamlin who have loyally stuck with us through this difficult and challenging year.  I also want to give special thanks to our highly professional team of associates who are our front line in delivering our advice, support, training and consultancy and the outstanding quality of whose work has contributed enormously to Community Matters high reputation over recent years.


Kind regards and best wishes to you all


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