During that time, Steeles Law has been one of our most active supporters – helping us reach voluntary groups across England & Wales tackling a huge range of issues.
People work for their local community groups because they want to change the world and not worry about the state of the roof or their lease, and yet property is one of the reasons why so many charities are forced to cut services or close.
Steeles Law has built a strong reputation in the charity field and has supported the Ethical Property Foundation in many ways over the years. Director Michael Fahy is a leading member of our Register of property professionals who together advise many of the 400 charities which we support each year. He is also a long serving trustee and regularly delivers popular Negotiating & Managing Your Lease workshops – as part of our National Programme for Property Education, the annual series of free workshops which we run for small voluntary groups across the country. Steeles Law has also supported our bi-annual Charity Property Matters Surveys which we have run with the Charity Commission since 2012. Last year this revealed for the first time that more charities were renting from commercial landlords than from local authorities, many of which are now selling or developing premises occupied by charities to raise money.
So what sort of voluntary groups do we support? Here are just a few recent clients…
- A counselling charity reeling from a dilapidations bill
- A community group seeking to take on a public library
- A scout group needing advice on a right of way
- An animal rescue centre negotiating a new lease
- A community theatre negotiating scenery storage space from a UK agency
- An African community centre seeking maintenance advice for their old building
- A dance school trying to move to bigger premises
- A cricket club which has just inherited a field
It is hard perhaps to picture the stress and worry that local people feel when responsible for property in their local community group. Thanks to leading charity specialists like Steeles Law, the Foundation can help these groups survive and succeed.
And so, on October 24th in our Farringdon offices, with colleagues from Steeles Law, we are raising a glass to 15 years of providing successful property advice. We look forward to many more years working with Steeles Law not least on future work expanding our property education and research. These are exciting and demanding times for the voluntary sector and at EPF are very fortunate to have such expert support.
Antonia Swinson is CEO of Ethical Property Foundation www.ethicalproperty.org.uk @epf4charities