Grace Network- no longer a CIC, now a CBS. Is that big deal?

The Grace Network has changed. Governance is not always the most gripping of subjects but for our vision of a new way of doing business and social development structure is vital for long term impact. To that end we have made a big change to the way were are governed. We are no longer a Community Interest Company but instead are a Charitable Community Benefit Society. This blog outlines what will be happening over the next few months. If you have any interest or want any advice on governance please get in contact as we are committed to helping other groups think through the best long term structures to run well.

We are now a Community Benefit Society. Instead of having 4 men in charge with total control and authority it means we are now instead a co-operative company:

 ·      Co-operatives are businesses owned and controlled by their members, who can be customers, staff, suppliers, local residents or a combination of these stakeholders

·      Members have an equal say in how the business is run

·      Members choose what to do with profits, whether distributing among members, reinvesting in the business or giving to the community

 We have the same vision:

 To see a world changed for the better along the lines of:

 

God’s Spirit is on me;

to bring a message of hope to the vulnerable,

to set free those who feel trapped,

to heal the battered and broken

to release those oppressed by injustice

to offer a new life, a new way to live.

 

We have the same mission:

To offer life changing opportunites through enterprise by offering hope to those who are socially excluded.

 Socially excluded means that together, as a group, we offer help to anyone who feels on the outside of life as a result of one of more of the following factors: unemployment; financial hardship; youth or old age; ill health (physical or mental); substance abuse or dependency including alcohol and drugs; being a carer for a family member affected by substance abuse or dependency including alcohol and drugs; discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability, ethnic origin, religion, belief, creed, sexual orientation or gender re-assignment; poor educational or skills attainment; relationship and family breakdown; poor housing (that is housing that does not meet basic habitable standards; crime (either as a victim of crime or as an offender rehabilitating into society).

 The big difference to before:

 We want to offer the chance for anyone who agrees with our idea of a better society to live in and wants to help our social enterprises help more people more effectively to actually have an equal say in how we run things and to share the ups and downs of our journey. 

 What is next then?

 We don’t want to mess people around and want to make sure when people join the COOP as members they know all the things they will need to do and all the responsibilities they are taking on.

 We also want to make sure we give everyone a fair chance to learn and grow together.

 On June 17th we are meeting with some advisors to make sure we have all the plans in place. After the 17th June we will be coming round the office to let people actually sign up and become members.

 What happens after that?

 We don’t know once we have members it won’t be up to us to think up all the plans but instead we will be working together to decided what to do and how to do it.