Support for community groups and organisations

Long Marston Recreation Ground & Village Hall Foundation – confusing governance has been transformed to allow the charity to look to the future

exterior shot of Long Marston Village Hall community building

With the help of Community First Yorkshire, Long Marston Recreation Ground & Village Hall Foundation has changed its constitution to better serve its local community.

What was the challenge?

The charity was struggling to get to grips with confusing governance arrangements for the foundation charity and its social club. Because their governing document was very outdated, there was a lot of misunderstanding among the trustees as to roles and accountabilities which meant that the charity wasn’t able to fully support the local community.

Miles Pennett, one of the charity’s trustees, said: “We were very concerned that the village hall wasn’t fulfilling its role as a community asset because the constitution was being interpreted in different ways by different individuals, and was not fit for purpose. We wanted to provide more facilities to more local people but didn’t know where to get started.”

The trustees turned to Community First Yorkshire to help unpick this problem.

How did Community First Yorkshire help?

Mark, a Development Officer at Community First Yorkshire, started working with the trustees to help them understand what position they were currently in and what they needed to do to provide greater community support.

Miles says: “Mark came along to our AGM to help us start the conversation about making changes in a neutral manner. He was very calm, very considerate and gave us direction and advice about the steps we needed to take.

“We needed that unbiased point of view to help us assess what our ambitions were, whether they were realistic and put a plan together to achieve them.”

Mark organised for the trustees to attend some Community First Yorkshire training and helped them separate the charity meetings from the social club meetings, which was a great step forward. He worked with the trustees to help them understand their current governing document and to develop a new modernised version that was fit for purpose. With his support, the trustees have created a new charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) and have transferred assets and liabilities to the new charity, making the organisation much more secure.

Mark, a Development Officer at Community First Yorkshire, said: “Untangling tricky governance situations can often be a long process, but Long Marston Village Hall have been tenacious and shown true determination to make their hall an asset for their community.”

"There are lots of hoops to jump through when changing your constitution and becoming a CIO. Mark threw himself into the challenge 100% and kept us going. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve all these changes without his support.”
Miles Pennett, one of the charity’s trustees

About the organisation.

Long Marston Recreation Ground & Village Hall Foundation is a registered charity run by a board of trustees and a team of dedicated volunteers. It provides facilities for the benefit of the village of Long Marston and its neighbourhood including a fully equipped village hall, changing rooms and bar facility, and has a large outdoor sports field with cricket and football pitches, cricket nets on its tennis courts and a children’s playground.

What does the future look like?

Miles says: “Well, to be frank, the world is our oyster! We’re hoping to improve our outdoor facilities so that even more members of our community can benefit from the venue. Thanks to Mark’s help, we have a stronger community focus which means we are able to act more truly as a hub for the village. Already we’ve felt the difference with more people making enquiries about helping with running the hall or using the facilities post lockdown. “The trustees feel more confident about making changes because we know that, when we need it, expert support from Community First Yorkshire will be there. We have ambitious plans for making improvements to the facilities and will be in touch with Mark again for help with securing future funding.”

Do you need help with…
  • Securing income for your organisation or project?
  • Turning your ideas of becoming a new community organisation into a reality?
  • Benefitting from greater security as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)?
  • Thinking about reviewing your organisation and planning ahead?
  • Understanding trustee’s legal roles and responsibilities?
  • Benefitting from a financial health check?

Our advisers can help. Call us today 01904 704177 or

How we can help you.

As a registered charity, we understand your needs. Our local advisers work across North Yorkshire and will come to you to ensure you get access to the best quality advice and guidance including funding advice, helping you set up as a community organisation, governance and trustees, finance support, marketing advice, and exploring ways to further develop your organisation.
If you know a community group, charity or social enterprise that needs some support to be even more successful, contact one of our friendly advisors on 01904 704177 or