Beehive gains charity status

PUBLISHED: 12:30 15 July 2015

The Honiton Beehive. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 2243-34-14AW

The Honiton Beehive. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref mhh 2243-34-14AW

Archant

Honiton Community Complex, which has operated The Beehive since it opened last April, was granted UK registered charity status last month.

Directors and friends of The Beehive in Honiton are celebrating a major milestone after the company running it was granted charity status.

Honiton Community Complex, which has operated The Beehive since it opened last April, was granted UK registered charity status last month.

Barry Simmonds, acting chairman of the board of directors for Honiton Community Complex, said: “This recognises and endorses what The Beehive is all about - providing value for the community.

“The Beehive isn’t just an entertainment and 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 Voice and Honiton Community Church, to East Devon Dance Company and the Honiton Pantomime Society.”

A sound business plan meant that no financial hurdles sprung up as The Beehive made its move towards becoming a charity.

The centre has already moved into profit in its first year of opening, something Mr Simmonds is keen to attribute to the motivation and enthusiasm of its volunteers and the generally positive reception it has received from residents.

He also noted that the first year profit has already been allocated towards much-needed investments at The Beehive.

Councillor Caroline Kolek, Honiton’s mayor, also welcomed the news. She said: “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.”

Mr Simmonds added: “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 centre 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.”

Former mayor Peter Halse, who has been heavily in favour of The Beehive since its opening, said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the result.

“Without being a charity, we can not apply for half the grants we need,” he said. “Most other organisations like us have close links with the council and Government, and do it this way.

“I could not imagine the request being turned down as it is the only way forward for the governance of The Beehive.”

Cllr Halse also praised the army of volunteers who keep The Beehive running, and added: “We have got one of the best modern buildings in East Devon, with 70 volunteers. All of the directors are volunteers. They keep the place running from early in the morning until, sometimes, to midnight. If that’s not amazing, I will not be amazed by anything else.

“Honiton is growing and it needs the facilities. Without The Beehive, I do not know what we would do.”

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