After a four month wait, members, supporters and friends of The Beehive heard what they needed to hear from the Charity Commission of England and Wales: as of 6 July The Beehive will be a United Kingdom Registered Charity.
So what does this mean for the Beehive? I put this and a few other questions to Barry Simmonds, who is acting chairman of the board of directors for Honiton Community Complex, the management company which has operated The Beehive since it opened in April 2014.
“Firstly, it recognises and endorses what The Beehive is all about: providing value for the community.” says Barry. This is true. The Beehive isn’t just an entertainment/exhibition centre and cinema, although it does very well in that respect. It has also hosted over 70 local organisations as diverse as Honiton Senior Voices and the Community Churches, to East Devon Dance Company and the Honiton Pantomime Society.
The move to charitable status apparently encountered no financial hurdles since The Beehive has a sound business plan and has already moved into profit in its first year of opening, something Mr Simmonds was keen to attribute to the motivation and enthusiasm of the Beehive’s 70 plus local volunteers together with the generally positive reception the Beehive has received from townspeople and other local audiences since its inception. He noted that the first year profit has already been allocated to much needed investments at the Beehive.
Another key benefit of the Beehive’s new charitable status is that it enables easier access to potential grants, sponsorships and donations that might have been missed had The Beehive remained a purely commercial entity. “Obviously, that can help us further develop both our infrastructure and programme of events as we move forward with the community” says Mr Simmonds.
Caroline Kolek, Honiton town council mayor, said that “This is a significant step forward for The Beehive. It’s fantastic to see such an important community project doing so well in such a short period of time, and it’s very encouraging to see that large numbers of people are now using the centre. The council looks forward to working with the community centre management in the future”.