Community Development Trusts – What are they?

What is a Community Development Trust?

Development trusts are community organisations which

  • Are owned and managed by Trust members from the local community (in our case the people who live, work or have a strong connection to Haddington).
  • Aim to achieve sustainable regeneration of their communities and address a range of economic, social, environmental and cultural issues within them.
  • Are independent but seek to work in partnership with other public, private and third sector organisations. HCDT have four partnership organisations that are represented on the board of directors. They are Haddington and District Amenity Society (HADAS), Haddington and District Community Council (HCC) Haddington and District Business Association (HDBA) and Knox Academy (Knox).
  • Aim to reduce dependency on grant support, ultimately by generating income through sustainable community development enterprise and ownership of assets. Any trading surpluses are reinvested in the organisation or the community.

What will Haddington Community Development Trust (HCDT) do?

Haddington Community Development Trust want to make Haddington the best place it can be to live, work and visit.

We aim to deliver the key actions from the 2012 Urban Animation report “‘A vision for Haddington Town Centre’ fulfilling our potential “ – these key actions are to create a bustling town centre that is vibrant, animated and attractive. To boost the local economy and make the most of the wonderful locally produced food, drink, and arts & crafts. To make sure Haddington has great facilities for the whole community, young and old. We want to tell the Haddington story, make the most of its history, the riverside and the resources we have to attract visitors all year round.

The Directors and members of the Trust will

Act with integrity – do what we say we are going to do.

Act with mutual respect – internally and externally.

Offer mutual support to and share knowledge and ideas with other like-minded organisations.

Maintain open communication with the members and take constructive criticism.

What is the difference between a Community Development Trust and Community Council?

A Community Development Trust is a voluntary organisation, often a company listed at Companies House and is able to receive and distribute funds according to its Articles of Association and its Objects. The members own the Company and elect a Board of Directors to run the company on their behalf.

A Community Council is the most local tier of statutory representation in Scotland. They bridge the gap between local authorities and communities, and help make the local authority aware of the wants and needs of the communities they represent.

The Community Development Trust and the Community Council work together towards common aims but should be mindful of their different responsibilities.

Is the Trust a charity or a company?

HCDT is both a company and a charity. Being a Charity enables us to pursue grant funding to enable projects to be realised.

Who runs the Community Trust?

A board of Directors runs the Trust.

What does being a Director mean?

It means you are responsible for running the company according to the Trust’s articles, and legal duties.

Can anyone be a Director?

A full member of the Trust can stand for election. Members who wish to be stand for election should complete an application form. On appointment all Directors are required to complete the following:

Commitment declaration

Conflict of interest declaration

Fit and proper person declaration

The HCDT’s success depends on the personal commitment and active participation of all Directors. They are expected to be strong advocates and enthusiastic communicators of the HCDT’s mission and to play a meaningful role in fundraising activities to support the HCDT’s programmes. Board meetings are held monthly and sub-committees as often as necessary. It is important not to miss meetings and to be well prepared for them. Each Director is expected to serve on a subcommittee best suited to his/her experience.

Before accepting an appointment, prospective Directors should undertake their own examination of the organisation to satisfy themselves that it is an organisation in which they can have faith and in which they will be suited to working.

The following areas should be considered:

The exact nature and extent of the organisation’s activities

Structure of the Board and Board committees and the relationships between the Chairperson and the Board and any staff or volunteers

Qualities, knowledge, skills and experience needed to form the Board

How your knowledge, skills, experience and time matches the needs of the organisation

Current key dependencies (e.g. regulatory approvals, funding sources, etc)

Are Directors appointed or elected and by whom?

Both. There are 4 co-opted Directors nominated as representative members from the 4 partnership groups – Haddington and District Community Council (HCC) , Haddington and District Amenity Society (HADAS), Haddington and District Business Association (HDBA) and Knox Academy (Knox). Seven directors are elected from the membership at the AGM. The Board can make co-options to fill casual vacancies occurring during the year. The Board may also co-opt one non-member of HCDT to bring special skill or expertise. The Board is required to have a minimum of 9 directors in office.

What does being a co-opted Director mean?

The responsibities of elected and co-opted Directors are identical, with one exception. The exception concerns a non-member co-opted director, if appointed, who has reduced voting rights.

What does being a member of the trust mean?

As a member of the Trust you believe in the aims and objectives of the Trust. As member of the Trust you are part owner of the company. You can attend all General meetings and the Annual General Meeting (AGM). You can exercise your right to vote at on any motion put before a general meeting for consideration. If you wish to vote but cannot attend the general meeting that will consider the motion, you can vote by proxy.  This means you nominate another person to vote on your behalf. If you intend to vote by proxy, arrangements have to be made to enable you to do so. Members can also ask for a general meeting to be called.

Does it cost anything to be a member?

It is free to join the HCDT. All members must renew their membership before the AGM if they wish to vote in person or by proxy. You can join the Trust by filling in an application form and take along  to Frances at The Malt Kiln, 18 High Street, Haddington or Joe at Joe Forte Sports at 65 High Street, Haddington or join here.


Does anyone in the Trust get paid?

All board members work for the Trust on a voluntary basis. If the board decide to employ someone as say an administrative assistant then that person could be paid – but they do not need to be a member of the trust. Also if anyone is a member of the trust and is going to be paid to do a job they cannot be a Director as this is considered to be a conflict of interest

What sort of activities might the trust be involved with?

The Trust may pursue any activity that helps it achieve its objectives.

And it objectives are to:

Deliver a bustling town center.

Boost the Local economy.

Attract investment and create jobs.

Develop outstanding facilities for residents and visitors.

Attract tourists/footfall to the town.

With whom does the Trust communicate?

The Directors will communicate with the members through newsletters and mail and it is hoped in the future, the wider public, by setting up a website.

Who does the Trust liaise with?

East Lothian Council (ELC), Haddington and Lammermuir Local Area Partnership (H&LAP), Haddington Community Council (HCC), Haddington and District Amenity Society (HADAS), Haddington and District Business Association (HDBA) and Knox Academy (Knox).

What are the Articles of Association?

These are the rules of the company i.e. the Trust, and incorporate its formal objects.

Where does the money come from?

For the first 3 years the Trust are Grant funded by ELC.   This funding will be dependant on certain conditions being fulfilled. The first year of funding was 2013 -2014. We are now in year 2015- 2016. In the future the Trust will work towards being self-funded.

How do we know the trust is spending money wisely and what has been spent to date?

We are bound by company rules and by OSCR.  At the Annual General Meeting a Chairman’s Report and Financial Report will be given to the members.

How do members find out what is going on?

This website, member newsletters, local press, and social media twitter Facebook.

How many meetings do the Trust Have?

An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is required by Company law to be held once a year (or within 15 months of previous AGM). The Board will meet regularly – once a month and more if circumstances require.

Who can come to meetings?

Members can attend the AGM or other general meetings. Only those invited can attend Board meetings.

How does the Board make decisions?

Some decisions are accepted by a consensus. A motion being put forward makes more formal decisions and a majority vote will carry a motion.  The Chair has the casting vote, unless the Chair is a co-opted (representative) Director.

If I am only a member will the Trust listen to what I have to say?

Yes – you can contact board members directly, by e-mail or by mail. It is the intention of the Trust to have occasional open meetings that you can attend and chat to the board in an informal way.

What is DTA Scotland and is HCDT a member?

DTA Scotland is a charitable membership organisation and support network for community development trusts. It has membership of over 200 community-based groups spread across rural and urban Scotland. DTA Scotland promotes best practice for community development trusts and supports its members to become more financially and operationally robust. It promotes the community-led development and community development trusts with policymakers and funders, as well as supporting the establishment of new trusts.

HCDT is a member of DTA Scotland

Are there other Trusts like us in Scotland?

Yes! There are many. The DTA Scotland website lists over 200 Community Development Trusts who are members of DTA Scotland.

Is there anywhere Trusts can go for advice?

The Trust is able to use the full resources of DTA Scotland including its solicitors and specialist advisors.

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