Become a charity we must. It will allow us to enter into long term agreements with landowners, apply for grants and funding and get insurance for our volunteers. We also get a 75% discount on trees from the Woodland Trust if we are a charity.
I must admit that I am happier with a billhook than an application form; especially one that spans many sections and requires supplementary evidence. Still it is clear that to make our dream a reality, applying to the charity commission to become a registered charity is our next step. So I create myself a login an start with question 1, knowing that once question 1 is answered I can move on to question 2; and eventually I will run out of questions.
OK, I’m being melodramatic, its quite straight forward, the hardest part needing some evidence or expert advice of the value of the land for conservation and the benefit of doing so. Luckily our growing network of friends were able to help out and pointed me in the direction of TVERC http://www.tverc.org and DEFRA’s magic map https://magic.defra.gov.uk/
It turns out that all of the river Kennet tributaries are already designated as SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). The lakes and reed bed wetlands area of Thames Water’s land is also a local wildlife area. This is a major bonus as it backs our case up beyond doubt and highlights what a real treasure this little pocket of land is.
The report from TVERC and DEFRA maps will be submitted with our application to the Charity Commission.