Constitution

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1. Name.

The name of the charity is The Downswood Community Association.

(hereinafter called "The Association").

 

2. Objects.

The objects of The Association are to:

 

promote the benefit of the inhabitants of the civil Parish of Downswood, in the Borough of Maidstone (hereinafter called "the area of benefit"), without distinction of sex, sexual orientation, race or of political, religious or other opinions, by associating together the said inhabitants and the local authorities, voluntary and other organisations in a common effort to advance education and to provide facilities in the interest of social welfare for recreation and leisure-time occupation with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants;

establish, or secure the establishment of a Community Centre (hereinafter called "The Centre") and to maintain and manage the same (whether alone or in

co-operation with any local authority or other person or body) in furtherance of these objects.

promote such other charitable purposes as may from time to time be determined.

The Association shall be non-party in politics and non-sectarian in religion.

 

3. Powers.

 

In furtherance with the said objects, but not otherwise, The Association shall have the power to:

bring together in conference representatives of voluntary organisations,

Government departments, statutory authorities and individuals;

 

arrange and provide for, either alone or with others, the holding of exhibitions,

meetings, lectures, classes, seminars or training courses, and all forms of recreational and other leisure-time activities;

(c) collect and disseminate information on all matters relating to it’s objects, and to

exchange such information with other bodies having similar objects whether in

The United Kingdom or elsewhere;

(d) write, print or publish, in whatever form, such papers, books, periodicals,

pamphlets or other documents, including films and recorded material, as shall

further it’s objects, and to issue or circulate the same whether for payment or

otherwise;

 

purchase, take on lease or in exchange, hire or otherwise lawfully acquire such

property or other rights and privileges as may be necessary for the promotion of

it’s objects and to construct, maintain or alter the same, subject to the provisions

of clause 17 hereof;

 

 

3. Powers.

 

make regulations for the proper supervision, control and management of any

property, which may be so acquired;

 

sell, let, dispose of or turn to account all or any of it’s property or assets subject to

such consents as may be required by law;

 

raise funds and invite and receive donations and contributions, whether by

subscriptions or otherwise, provided that The Association shall not undertake or in

any way engage in any permanent trading activities in raising funds for it’s

charitable objects;

 

support any charitable trusts, associations or institutions formed for all or any of

the objects;

(j) receive money on deposit or loan or overdraft, in such manner as The Association

may think fit, subject to such consent or on such conditions as may be required by

law.

 

invest money not immediately required for it’s objects in or upon such

investments, securities or property as The Association may think fit, subject

nevertheless to such conditions (if any) as may for the time being be imposed by

law;

 

borrow money, and subject to such consents as may be required by law, to charge

all or any of the property of The Association with the repayment of money so

borrowed;

 

subject to clause 13 hereof, employ such persons as are necessary for the proper

pursuit of the objects and make all reasonable and necessary provisions for the payment of pensions and superannuation for staff and their dependants;

insure and arrange insurance cover to indemnify its employees and voluntary

workers from and against all such risks incurred in the course of the performance of their duties as may be thought fit;

affiliate to the National Federation of Community Organisations (Community

Matters) and to other organisations with similar charitable objects;

 

do all such other lawful things as shall further the charitable objects of The

Association.

 

 

4. Membership.

 

Membership shall be open, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, race, nationality, or political, religious or other opinion to:

(i) individuals aged eighteen years and over:

 

(a) who live within the area of benefit, who shall be known as Full members;

(b) who live outside the area of benefit, who shall be known as Associate

members, and who may attend as observers but who shall not have the right to

vote at General Meetings of The Association, unless elected as Honorary Officers

under clause 9 hereof and shall hereinafter be referred to as ‘members with the

power to vote’;

 

 

4. Membership.

(ii) individuals aged under eighteen years, living within the area of benefit,

who shall be known as junior members and may be admitted to membership

subject to such conditions as The General Committee decide. They shall have the

power to elect two of their number to represent them, without the right to vote at

meetings of The General Committee. Any junior members may be invited to

attend General Meetings as observers but shall not have the right to vote.

(iii) associations and organisations, whether corperate or unincorperated, (and

including branches of national or international organisations) which operate soley

or in part within the area of benefit, are voluntary or non-profit distributing and

which wish to support the objects of The Association, which shall be known as

Affiliated Groups;

(iv) the Statutory Authorities in whose administrative area the area of benefit lies.

 

Each member organisation as set out in clause 4 (a) (iii) and (iv) above and each

Section established in accordance with Clause 6 below shall appoint one

individual person being a member thereof to represent it and vote on its behalf at

meetings of The General Committee and at General Meetings of The Association;

and may appoint an alternate being a member thereof to replace its appointed

representative as an observer at such meetings if the appointed representative is

unable to attend. In the event of such individual person resigning or leaving a

member organisation or Section he or she shall forthwith cease to be a

representative thereof. The member organisation concerned shall have the right to

appoint a new representative, informing The Secretary in writing.

 

5. Subscriptions.

All individual members and affiliated groups shall pay such subscriptions as The General Committee may from time to time determine.

 

6. Sections.

Sections shall be groups of individual members as may, with the permission of The General Committee, be formed within The Association for the furtherance of common activities. The General Committee shall determine the terms of reference and functions of each such Section and the duration of its activities.


7. Resignation and termination of membership.

 

 

Any member of The Association may resign his/her membership and any

representative of a member organisation or Section may resign such position, by

giving to The Secretary of The Association written notice to that effect.

 

The General Committee may, by resolution passed at a meeting therof, terminate or suspend the membership of any member, if in its opinion, his/her conduct is prejudicial to the interests and objects of The Association, PROVIDED THAT

the individual member or representative of the member organisation (as the case may be) shall have the right to be heard by The General Committee before the final decision is made. There shall be a right of appeal to an independent arbitrator appointed by mutual agreement.

 

8. General meetings of The Association.

 

Annual General Meetings:

Once in each calendar year, an Annual General Meeting of The Association shall be held at such time and place as The General Committee shall determine, being not more than fifteen months after the adoption of this constitution and thereafter the holding of preceding Annual General Meeting. At least 21 clear days notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place or places in the area of benefit and/or advertised in a newspaper circulating in the area of benefit.

The business of each Annual General Meeting shall be:

(i) to receive the annual report of The General Committee, which shall incorporate

the accounts of The Association referred to below, and give an account of the

work The Association and its activities during the preceding year;

(ii) to receive the accounts of The Association for the preceding financial year;

(iii) to elect Honorary Officers of The Association in accordance with clause 9 hereof;

(iv) to note the names of the persons appointed/elected to serve as members of The

General Committee under clause 10 (a) (ii) – (iv) hereof;

(v) to elect representatives of full members to serve on The General Committee, in

accordance with clause 10 (a) (v) hereof;

(vi) to appoint one or more qualified auditors or independent examiners for the

coming year to audit or examine the accounts of The Association in accordance

with the Charities act 1993 (or ant statutory modification or re-enactment of that

act);

(vii) to consider and vote on any proposals to alter this constitution in accordance with

clause 22 hereof;

 

 

8. General meetings of The Association.

(viii) to consider any other business of which due notice has been given;

 

Special General Meetings:

The Chair of The General Committee may at any time at his/her discretion and The Secretary shall within 21 days of receiving a written request so to do signed by not less than 20 members with the power to vote and giving reasons for the request, call a Special General Meeting of The Association to consider the business specified on the notice of the meeting and for no other purpose. At least 14 clear days notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place or places in the area of benefit and or advertised in a newspaper circulating in the area of benefit.

 

 

9. Honorary Officers.

 

Only members of The Association aged eighteen years and over shall be eligible to serve as Honorary Officers.

The members with power to vote present at The Annual General Meeting shall elect The Treasurer and The Secretary of The Association and such other Honorary Officers as The Association may from time to time decide who shall serve in their respective capacities as Honorary Officers of The General Committee. Such Honorary Officers may be appointed as members of any Sub-Committee established in accordance with clause 11 hereof.

At its first meeting after The Annual General Meeting The General Committee shall elect from among its members a Chair and Vice-Chair who shall serve in their respective capacities as Honorary Officers of The General Committee.

An Honorary Officer shall cease to hold office if he/she notifies The Secretary of The Association of his/her resignation.

If a vacancy occurs by death, resignation or disqualification among the Honorary Officers of The Association or of The General Committee, The General Committee shall have the power to fill it from among its members.

Subject to sub-clause (d) of this clause, all Honorary Officers shall hold office until the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting of The Association and shall be eligible for re-election.


10. The General Committee.

 

Subject to the provisions of clause 8 hereof the policy and general management of the affairs of The Association shall be directed by The General Committee which shall meet not less than four times a year. As charity trustees, The General Committee shall have the power to enter into contracts for the purposes of The Association on behalf of all members and may exercise on behalf of The Association any or all of the powers enumerated in clause 3 hereof.

 

The General Committee shall consist of:

the Honorary Officers elected under clause 9 hereof;

(ii) one representative appointed by each affiliated group and statutory authority in

accordance with clause 4(b) hereof;

(iii) one representative appointed in accordance with clause 4 (b) thereof by each

section established in accordance with clause 6 hereof;

(iv) up to six representatives of full members or such larger number as shall be equal

to the number of General Committee members appointed in accordance with sub-

clause (a) (ii) of this clause to be elected by the full members present at The

Annual General Meeting;

(v) persons co-opted individually by The General Committee who shall serve on The

General Committee until the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting;

PROVIDED THAT the number of co-opted members shall not exceed one quarter

of the total members elected and appointed to The General Committee in

accordance with the provisions of this sub-clause and enumerated above.

 

All members of The General Committee shall retire from office together at the conclusion of The Annual General Meeting next after the date on which they came into office but they may be re-elected or re-appointed.

If casual vacancies occur among the elected members of The General Committee it shall have the power to fill these from among the members of The Association.

The proceedings of The General Committee shall not be invalidated by any failure to elect or any defect in the election, appointment, co-option or qualification of any member.

A member of The General Committee shall cease to hold office if he or she –

(i) is disqualified from holding such office by virtue of section 72 of the Charities act

 

1993 (or any statutory modification or re-enactment of that provision), or

(ii) becomes incapable by reason of mental disorder, illness or injury of managing his

or her own affairs, or

(iii) is absent without the permission of The General Committee from all it’s meetings

held within a period of six months and The General Committee resolve that

he/she shall cease to hold office, or

(iv) notifies The General Committee in writing of his or her resignation (PROVIDED

THAT at least three members of The General Committee will remain in office

when the notice of the resignation is to take effect).


10 The General Committee.

The provisions of paragraphs (i) and (ii) of this sub-clause also apply to any individual holding trustee who may be appointed in accordance with clause 17 (a) below.

 

Each member of The General Committee upon election or appointment to The

Committee receive a copy of The Association’s Constitution. No person shall be

entitled to act as a member of The General Committee, following election or re-

election or appointment or re-appointment, until they have signed in the minute

book of The General Committee a declaration of acceptance and willingness to act

as a managing trustee of The Association.

 

No person under the age of eighteen shall be members of The General Committee

but such persons may be invited to attend meetings of such Committees as

observers without the right to vote.

 

11. Sub-Committees.

The General Committee may appoint one or more sub-Committees for supervising or performing an activity or service.

In each such case:

 

The General Committee shall define the terms of reference of the sub-Committee and may also determine its composition and the duration of its activities;

All acts and proceedings of the sub-Committee shall be reported as soon as possible to The General Committee.

 

 

12. General Committee members not to be personally interested.

 

No member of The General Committee (otherwise than as a trustee for The

Association) shall acquire any interest in property belonging to The Association.

 

No member of The General Committee (otherwise than as a member of The

General Committee) shall be interested in any contract entered into by The General Committee.

No member of The General Committee shall receive remuneration.


13. Paid employees.

 

The General Committee or sub-Committee (as appointed in accordance with

clause 11) shall have the right in exercise of the power conferred by clause 3(m)

hereof of appointing, dismissing, and determining the terms of conditions of

service of all employees of The Association.

 

An employee of The Association shall not be eligible to be a member of The

General Committee, any section Committee or sub-Committee of The Association,

But may be invited to attend such Committees as a non-voting adviser.

 

 

14. Rules of procedure at all meetings.

 

Voting

Subject to the provisions of clause 22, any question arising at a meeting of The Association or one of its Committees shall be decided by a simple majority of those present and voting. No member shall exercise more than one vote notwithstanding that he or she may have been appointed to represent two or more interests, but in a case of an equality of votes the Chair shall have the second or casting vote.

 

Quorum

(i) Committee meetings: one third of the members with the power to vote shall form a

quorum at meetings of The General Committee and all other Committees and sub-

Committees of The Association.

(ii) General Meetings: twenty five members with the power to vote or one third of the

members with the power to vote, whichever is the less, shall form a quorum at

general meetings of The Association.

In the event that no quorum is present at an Annual General meeting of The Association, or the meeting has to be abandoned, the meeting shall stand adjourned and be reconvened 14 days later, and those members with the power to vote present at that meeting shall be deemed to form a quorum.

 

Minutes

Minute books shall be kept by The Association and all its Committees and the respective Secretary shall enter therein a record of all proceedings and resolutions.

 

15. Standing orders and rules for the use of The Centre.

The General Committee or sub-Committee (as appointed in accordance with clause 11) shall have the power to adopt and issue Standing Orders for the conduct of Association business and/or Rules for the use of The Centre. Such Standing Orders and Rules shall come into operation immediately, provided always that they shall be subject to review by The Association in General meeting and that they shall be consistent with the provisions of this constitution.

 

16. Finance.

 

All money raised by or on behalf of The Association shall be applied to further the objects of The Association and for no other purpose, provided that nothing herein contained shall prevent the payment in good faith of reasonable and proper remuneration to any employee of The Association or the repayment of any out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of The Association by employees or volunteers.

 

(b) An account shall be opened in the name of The Association with ‘Girobank’, or with such other financial institution as The General Committee may from time to time decide. The General Committee shall authorise in writing The Treasurer, The Secretary of The Association and two members of The General Committee to sign cheques on behalf of The Association.

All cheques exceeding £100 must be signed by not less than two of the four authorised signatories.

 

The Association’s financial year shall be from 01st June to 31st May.

 

 

17. Trust property.

 

Land and Buildings

Subject to the provisions of sub-clause (b) of this clause, The General Committee shall cause the title to all land (which is not vested in the Official Custodian for Charities) and all investments held by or in trust for The Association to be vested either in a corporation entitled to act as custodian trustee or in not less than three nor more than four named individuals (not being members of The General Committee)

Appointed by The General Committee as holding trustees. Holding trustees shall act in accordance with the lawful directions of The General Committee. Provided that they act only in accordance with such lawful directions, holding trustees may be removed by The General Committee at its pleasure and shall otherwise cease to hold office in accordance with the provisions of clause 10 (e) above.


17. Trust property.

 

Investments

If a corporation entitled to act as custodian trustees has not been appointed to hold the property of The Association, The General Committee may permit any investments held by or in trust for The Association to be held in the name of a clearing bank, trust corporation or any stockbroking company which is a member of the International Stock Exchange (or any subsidiary of any such stockbroking company) as nominee for The General Committee and may pay such nominee reasonable and proper remuneration for acting as such.

 

 

18. Accounts.

The General Committee shall comply with its obligations under The Charities Act 1993 (or any statutory modification or re-enactment of that act) with respect to:

 

the keeping of accounting records for The Association;

the preparation of an annual statement of the accounts for The Association;

(c) the auditing or independent examination of the statements of accounts of The

Association;

 

the transmission of the statements of accounts to The Charity Commission for

England and Wales.

 

 

19. Annual report and Annual Return.

The General Committee shall comply with its obligations under The Charities Act 1993 (or any statutory modification or re-enactment of that act) with respect to the preparation of an annual report and an annual return and their transmission to The Charity Commissioners for England and Wales.

 

 

20. Indemnity.

In the execution of the trusts hereof no member of The General Committee shall be liable:

(i) for any loss to the property of The Association by reason of any improper

investment made in good faith (so long as he/she shall have sought professional

advice before making such investment); or

 

 

20. Indemnity.

(ii) for the negligence or fraud of any agent employed by him/her or by any other member of The General Committee in good faith (provided reasonable supervision shall have been exercised);

and no member of The General Committee shall be liable by reason of any mistake or omission made in good faith by any member of The General Committee other than wilful and individual fraud, wrongdoing or wrongful omission on the part of the member who is sought to be made liable.

 

 

21. Dissolution.

If The General Committee by a simple majority decides at any time that on the ground of expense or otherwise it is necessary or advisable to dissolve The Association it shall call a meeting of all members with the power to vote and of the inhabitants of the area of benefit of the age of eighteen years and upwards of which meeting not less than 21 days clear notice (stating the terms of the resolution to be proposed thereat) shall be posted in a conspicuous place or places in the area of benefit and advertised in a newspaper circulating in the area of benefit and giving in writing to The Charity Commissioners for England and Wales and The National Director of The National Federation of Community Organisations (Community Matters). If such decision shall be confirmed by a simple majority of those present and voting at such meeting The General Committee shall have the power to dispose of any assets held by or in the name of The Association. Any assets remaining after satisfaction of any proper debts and liabilities shall be applied towards such charitable purpose for the benefit of the inhabitants of the area of benefit as The General Committee decide subject to the prior approval in writing of The Charity Commissioners for England and Wales, or other authority having charitable jurisdiction.

 

 

22. Alteration to The Constitution.

Any proposal to alter this constitution must be delivered in writing to The Secretary of The Association not less than 28 days before the date of the meeting at which it is first to be considered. Any alteration will require the approval of both;

 

a simple majority of members of The General Committee present and voting at General Committee meeting;

a two-thirds majority of members of The Association with power to vote present and voting at a general meeting.

 

22. Alteration to The Constitution.

At least 14 clear days notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the area of benefit and advertised in a newspaper circulating in the area of benefit, stating the wording of the proposed alteration;

No alteration shall be made to this constitution which would cause the Association to cease to be a charity by law. No alteration to Clause 2 (Objects), Clause 12 (Personal interests), Clause 21 (Dissolution) or to this clause shall take effect until the approval in writing of The Charity Commissioners or other authority having charitable jurisdiction shall have been obtained.

 

 

This Constitution was adopted, pursuant to clause 15 of The Constitution adopted on 26th November 1986, at a general meeting of The Downswood Community Association held on:

 

Having been approved at a general meeting held on:

18th April 2000.

Signed by Chair of the meeting:

John Everett.

Signed by Secretary of the meeting:

Sue Gaywood.

 

 

Formal approval from The Charities Commission for England and Wales was received on 16th May 2000.

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