The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 To seek Committee authorisation for transfer of the BCC revenue grant award from Newhill Youth & Community Association to Upper Springfield Development Trust (USDT).
1.2 The total award amount is £13,000. Newhill Y&C Association have received the first payment of £6,500. The second payment will be due in October subject to submission of grant interim monitoring details and DFC agreed allocation.
1.3 Both organisations have engaged solicitors to undertake a merger with ‘due diligence’ now coming to a conclusion.
1.4 The proposal will ensure that all current and additional services/programmes will continue to be delivered from the facility for which the BCC revenue grant applies.
1.5 Legal governance and financial transfer of obligations and accountability will be met by USDT including contractual obligations relating to BCC revenue funding.
1.6 USDT does not receive a Capacity or Revenue grant thus the proposal to transfer the award does not conflict with Council’s policy on provision of the community development grants.
2.1 The Members of the Committee are asked to recommend that, in accordance with the Council decision of 4th May 2021, the Chief Executive exercise her delegated authority to;
· authorise transfer of the BCC revenue grant currently paid to Newhill Youth & Community Association to Upper Springfield Development Trust (USDT). Authorisation is subject to the merger of both organisations. Completion of all governance and financial obligations and continued service delivery from the facility for which the revenue grant has been awarded.
3.0 Main report
3.1 Newhill Youth & Community Association based at 261 Whiterock Road, Belfast BT12 7SX are in receipt of a revenue grant for community buildings in the amount of £13,000. The Letter of Offer was issued in June 2021 and the first instalment of the grant (£6,500) paid to Newhill Y&C Association.
3.2 The Board of Newhill Y&C Association approached the Upper Springfield Development Trust (USDT) in 2020 to request that both organisations consider merger options. This was influenced by two key factors. The first being the governance capacity of the Newhill Board. The second being the strategic compatibility of both organisations. USDT are considered to be the lead community development organisation within the Upper Springfield Community. Newhill Y&C Association have a ‘state of the art’ facility but limited human resources. USDT have an established youth and community project with financial and human resources but limited space to work from.
3.3 USDT have been operating as the ‘parent’ company for Newhill Youth & Community Association for the past 12 months. Legal advice has indicated that the most prudent and sustainable way forward is to formally dissolve Newhill Y&C Association and transfer all undertaking and contractual obligations to USDT. The Boards of both organisations have been formally completing the necessary ‘due diligence’ in relation to the formal merger.
3.4 The P&C Committee of 13th April 2021 authorised six month Letters of Offer for the period 2021/22 to be issued to all current recipients of Councils Community Buildings Revenue Grant. Payment at an approximate value of 50% of their 2021/22 grant allocation. The remaining allocation to be determined following confirmation from DFC.
3.5 The Council revenue grant was awarded to support the delivery of community development programmes and services from the building at 261 Whiterock Road, Belfast. Following the merger of USDT and Newhill Y&C Association, USDT will continue to deliver these services and programmes from the building.
3.6 The merging of the two organisations will address capacity issues and ensure the continued and additional delivery of services in the area.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.7 Council has extended all current funding contracts for the period 2021/22. The second payment of grant is subject to Department for Communities agreed allocation.
Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
3.8 There are no equality or good relations impacts associated with this report.”
The Members of the Committee recommended that, in accordance with the Council decision of 4th May 2021, the Chief Executive exercise her delegated authority to authorise the transfer of the Belfast City Council revenue grant, currently paid to Newhill Youth and Community Association to Upper Springfield Development Trust, with the authorisation being subject to:
· the merger of both organisations; and
· the completion of all governance and financial obligations and continued service delivery from the facility for which the revenue grant had been awarded.