Highams Park Community CIC
Background to Highams Park Community CIC
Highams Park Community CIC (“HP CIC”) is a community interest company which was set up by members of the Highams Park Planning Group (HPPG) in 2017 with the aim of delivering projects for local people in the Highams Park Plan Area.
The Highams Park Planning Group (“HPPG”) is group of local people which was established at a Launch Event on 16th November 2013. The Launch Event was attended by hundreds of residents from the Highams Park Area and over 1,000 residents have now joined as members. HPPG was formally constituted by its members on 17th January 2014 and was designated by Waltham Forest Council on 15th July, 2014 as the neighbourhood development forum for the Highams Park Plan Area.
HPPG’s has undertaken extensive consultations with local people and statutory bodies and is creating a Community Plan (“The Highams Park Plan”) for the Highams Park Plan Area. The Plan will be in two parts: A Neighbourhood Plan which will be a formal document covering land use and planning issues in the Plan Area and an Action Plan for the implementation of community projects suggested by local people for improvements in the area.
In preparing the Action Plan it became clear to members of HPPG’s committee that the most effective way of delivering the Action Plan would be through an independent Community Interest Company (CIC) with the ability to enter into leases, own property and apply for grants and funding. The establishment of HP CIC was approved by HPPG’s members at the Annual General Meeting of 16th February 2017 and was incorporated on 28th June 2017 with registration no. 10840775.
The Board of HP CIC is comprised of seven members of the Highams Park Planning Group four of whom are also members of HPPG’s main committee (two of whom are also local councillors). Included within the skill sets of the board members are a chartered surveyor, an architect, a lawyer and a sustainability expert. The Company Secretary is a Chartered Accountant.
HP CIC is a voluntary organisation and none of the board members draw a salary or expenses and there are no paid employees.
Objectives of HP CIC
Although HP CIC was set up by HPPG, and its board is comprised of members of HPPG, it operates independently with its own board and clearly defined memorandum and articles of association.
The primary objectives of HP CIC are to:
- Provide support and assistance to the Highams Park Planning Group in the development and implementation of the Highams Park Neighbourhood Plan and projects that emerge from the plan.
- Undertake projects and other activities that benefit the people in the Highams Park Plan Area.
- Operate in collaboration with other organisations in the Highams Park Plan Area who share similar objectives.
- Oversee the establishment and management of Humphry’s (a community hub including a café and toilets) in The Highams Park, IG8 9RE.
The draft Highams Park Neighbourhood Plan contains many suggestions for projects and activities that will improve the area or provide benefits to local people. HP CIC acts as a vehicle for these projects and activities to be implemented.
HP CIC also seeks to provide a vehicle for the implementation of other community benefit projects and activities that may be desired by local people that arise independently of the Highams Park Neighbourhood Plan.
In fulfilling its objectives, HP CIC collaborates with other voluntary organisations in the area, and with local businesses, the local authorities, individuals in the community and other stakeholders who have similar or related objectives.
Activities to Date
The team from HPPG that comprises HP CIC’s Board have been members of HPPG since inception and have been involved in a number of projects through HPPG since 2014, including: forestry conservation works, decorative lighting in the town centre, installation of public art, a community internet radio station, arts events, festivals and other public events.
Working in conjunction with volunteers from HPPG, HP CIC undertook its first project in October 2017 when it entered into a lease with Waltham Forest Council for the refurbishment of a disused building in the local park (“The Highams Park” by the lake) to provide a community hub with café and toilets. The project was costed at around £250,000 by a local builder, so HPC CIC sought donations from local business for equipment and materials and undertook the project directly using volunteers from HPPG. The total volunteer hours over the life of the project were around 2,000 hours and over 70 people were involved. The donations of skills and equipment from local business and people were such the project was completed in May 2018 to a higher specification than originally costed for a cash expenditure of around only £14,000. The funding was provided by ward forum grants and corporate donations.
The community hub now operates under a concession granted by HP CIC as Humphry’s Café and its activities are overseen by HP CIC. The operator is responsible for all utility bills and HP CIC receives 10% of the income as a licence fee. The money used is for the upkeep of the building and for other community projects.
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