Richard Hunt

Richard Hunt

Head of Customer & Lending, CAF Bank

Charities Aid Foundation

How can charities effectively manage properties to further their mission?

Over half of charities identify that their properties are critical for delivering their services. It’s something that we at CAF Bank recognise too. Through the years we have seen how important buildings are; providing homes, places of worship, community services, foodbanks and much more.

We also know, however, that property can be challenging, both in terms of the day-to-day management of the buildings and when making major changes, such as leasing, purchasing and selling of property.

For many volunteers, trustees and managers, property management will be a small part of their role and one in which few will have received formal training. Changing regulation, rising energy costs and adaptions to post-Covid operations all combine to complicate this area further.

The challenge has always been how to get to grips with a complex subject by developing your knowledge of the fundamentals, while recognising when and from where to seek specialist advice.

Leading property advice charity, the Ethical Property Foundation, has tackled this challenge with funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation by launching the Weston Property Manual. This free-to-use resource is divided into twelve sections, covering topics such as trustees roles and responsibilities, planning your project delivery, and everyday property management issues such as energy use and conservation.

Each section is written by an experienced property adviser and offers advice, practical tips, quizzes, case studies, resources, common pitfalls to avoid and a webinar. The Manual also features a handy Jargon Buster to help you understand any unfamiliar property terms.

As a supporter of the Ethical Property Foundation, we at CAF Bank are very pleased to see the development of the Manual and to have been given a sneak preview.

For me, there are a couple of areas that stood out:

In my volunteering role, a fellow trustee and I have been exploring how we make sure our charity’s property complies with all the regulations that it should. Section 8 of the Manual – Effective building management and the law – is incredibly helpful. Not only does the webinar give a good overview to share with others, there’s also a checklist of areas to consider and links to more information.

As a lender with a social purpose, CAF Bank has been able to help many organisations buy or build properties to further their mission. It has been fantastic seeing the outcomes of these projects, but we know from experience that buying a property for your charity requires significant effort and diligence. Section 3 provides a range of resources to support the process, including a buyer’s checklist and case studies to illustrate key points.

There is much more expert advice within the Manual and I have no doubt that it will be an incredibly useful resource for a wide range of charities. To explore the Weston Property Manual, visit the Ethical Property Foundation website.

Community charity

Stay connected and informed

Receive our charity newsletter

Subscribe to receive email updates with latest news, funding and financing resources.

Sign up now