A St Austell childcare charity has become the first of its type in Cornwall to achieve Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) status.
Stepping Stones Pre-School has been a leading childcare provider in the St Austell area since 1991 offering a variety of options for parents seeking affordable, good quality care for their children. All the activities of Stepping Stones Pre-School have now been transferred to a new CIO known as Stepping Stones Childcare (Cornwall). This important move will allow Stepping Stones to expand and grow, enabling the charity to support more children in the area.
Charity Manager Julie Double said: “In an economically deprived area, having childcare that is both flexible and affordable is important in helping parents to be able to work to support their families and to help ensure children are ready for their transition to school. Our flexible approach means parents can book times that suit them. When people work part-time or on shift patterns, this really matters and our pricing structure also makes us more accessible to people on low incomes. Previously, as an Unincorporated Charity, we were limited in how much we could expand because of the legal burden this type of charitable status placed on individual trustees. Becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation makes us more flexible, and this will support our exciting plans to expand.”
In an unincorporated organisation, trustees are individually liable for the charity. As Stepping Stones has grown, and with plans to expand, this placed an unfair burden on individuals and it was becoming increasingly difficult to run the charity effectively. Becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation limits the liability of any one trustee and Stepping Stones hopes this will encourage more people to support its important cause.
Julie added: “These are exciting times for Stepping Stones. We are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year and are planning to open a new provision in the area later in the year. With our new status we can continue to expand in future, providing a much-needed service for children in this area. The transfer to CIO status has been a very complex and drawn out procedure. With freehold and leased properties to consider, new Ofsted registrations to manage and employees to transfer, it hasn’t been easy and we are really pleased to be announcing that the transfer is now complete. I would like to thank our legal advisors, Charity Trustees and all those involved in helping us to achieve this.”