Equality, diversity and inclusion
For young LGBT+ people, the world can be a difficult place. Often isolated, anxious or simply unaware of any support, a safe space to meet and share experiences with their community is a crucial resource.
Since 1988, The Proud Trust centre in Manchester has been that space. Over three decades they’ve built a 20,000 strong community, empowering young people with activities and advice in their building on Sidney Street.
But the building was showing its age. The Proud Trust wanted to create a space better suited to the needs of their young LGTB+ community. They were in the process of raising £2.4 million for a new centre when they talked to us about helping with the legal challenges involved in developing a new site.
Managing risk and reputation
Major donors such as the Big Lottery Fund, who made a substantial contribution, expect the highest standards to make sure funds are spent responsibly. The Proud Trust approached us to help manage any risk and protect their reputation.
As well as donors to satisfy, trustees can be held to account by the Charity Commission who demand good governance and transparency. They need to show a higher threshold of responsibility because they are custodians of money that has been donated by others.
There were also the neighbours to consider. The centre in central Manchester is surrounded by other businesses, bars, restaurants and different faith groups. These neighbours have rights, enshrined in their title deeds, that could impose restrictions on the new build.
Any inner-city development is going to be under close scrutiny, especially where young people are involved – heightened in this case by stigma towards the LGBT+ community.
Always on hand to offer advice
The Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) team was led by Laura Mynott, a specialist in commercial and residential property for faith organisations and social businesses. With experience of the charity sector, Laura was able to put the legal checks in place to reassure principal donors such as the Big Lottery Fund that, once the money was secured, it was being spent correctly – and within the Trust’s own constitution. As Laura says;
An incredibly rewarding project
The team also carried out an extensive title search on surrounding properties to make sure no restrictions would conflict with the centre’s goals. Up to 20 properties were thoroughly researched in the process. Any potential objections could be identified and resolved before they might endanger the development plans.
From Laura’s perspective, working with organisations such as The Proud Trust is why she joined Anthony Collins Solicitors;
For the young LGBT community in Manchester, progressing the development as quickly as possible is vital. To be able to open the doors to a new space in 2021, when hopefully social distancing will be a thing of the past, will be incredibly important to a community of young people who need support at a crucial time in their lives.
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