Immediately after the recent Annual Meeting of CARISMA a discussion took place, following on from previous discussions at trustee meetings, concerning the future of the charity.
It was recognised and agreed that the context within which CARISMA is now operating has changed. Through the combined efforts of many – local people, voluntary and statutory organisations, police and council – the problem of gun-crime which led to the formation of CARISMA has seen a marked decrease in recent years. On a positive note, this has been matched by improvements in the area and an increase in life-chances for young people.
There remains of course much more work that can be done, related to the deeper issues of which gun-crime and gang activity were symptoms (and could be again). However, the question was asked if, as the original reason for CARISMA’s foundation was now no longer such a significant factor in the life of the community, was it now the right time for the charity to declare “mission accomplished” and cease to operate? Other factors have been a decline in funding, much of which in the past was linked to finding solutions to the gun-crime issue, and in the availability of volunteers.
The Charity Commission’s guidance lists five reasons for closing a charity. Three of these are:
This being the case for CARISMA, a decision has been made by the trustees, as a correct discharging of their legal responsibilities, to formally close the charity in the next few months. However, the trustees recognise the ongoing work of peace-making and ‘inspiring communities’ that has been undertaken by Erinma Bell, with support from others within CARISMA, that very much builds on the experience gained through the years of CARISMA’s operation. We want that work to continue, but feel that it would best be served by a different charitable organisation, more tailored to the current context. Erinma has been tasked with researching models with a view to setting up such an organisation in the near future. Watch this space!
Recognising that “the original purpose has been met” is actually a cause for celebration, and the trustees have taken a brave step to bring the charity to a controlled and tidy end rather than let it slowly and sadly fade out in a few years time. We look forward to seeing a new work, led by Erinma, rise from the ashes!
It only remains for us to thank the many, many people who have taken part in and supported the work of CARISMA as it has sought to serve the community since its beginnings in late 2002.
On behalf of the trustees of CARISMA..