Written by Jean Roberts-Jones, Chief Executive, One Community
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” – Benjamin Franklin.
I was reminded of this quote during the week when I and a colleague ran an awareness briefing over lunch for local solicitors. These legal people are often dealing with wills, and so our discussion turned to legacies. Legacy funding is something many charities utilise to raise much needed funds. In essence, it is when someone decides to leave a proportion of their estate to a charity either in the form of money, possessions, or in the form of a trust.
It is a great way for people who wish to leave something behind for their local community to have a lasting legacy. We are already accepting legacies here at One Community, but we are looking to help improve the process. If 10% of our current clients left us £100 each, we could expect almost half a million pounds. In this current climate anything left to a charity would be highly impactful, and would help to ensure that services supporting vulnerable people can continue unimpeded.
It is somewhat worrying however, that most people do not realise that if they state in their will that they would like to leave £500 to Age UK, it does not go to the local branch that supported them, but to Head Office. If it is clearly stated in the will however that the money is for the Eastleigh branch of Age UK it will benefit the local group, and so there is a need for support around legacies in wills. It is a very complex and sensitive subject. Of course if it goes to Head Office there is the hope it will be filtered down to the elements of the organisation that need it the most, but for those leaving a legacy – locality is often the most important factor.
At the meeting with local solicitors, we wanted to explain how they could refer their clients to our services, and find out how we can help our members access their services too as and when needed. Having a good working relationship with local legal professionals is important, not only for legacy opportunities, but to ensure our clients have access to legal support if and when needed throughout their lives. The thing is that professionals such as this do not have to remember 250 different support organisations, just one and one telephone number, 023 8090 2400.
Most people assume a charity only works with clients who meet the Social Services financial criteria, meaning that people who own their own home do not qualify. This is not true. One Community, and many other voluntary and community groups offer a range of opportunities alongside the Hampshire County Council contracted services meaning that a legacy left to a CVS such as ourselves can have a really wide impact on your local community.