Case study: The model of a merger without tears

CSV took over running Cathedral Camps when the renovation charity was faced with closure.

The challenge

Cathedral Camps is a 25-year-old charity that runs holiday camps where young people renovate churches and cathedrals. It was finding it increasingly difficult to meet health and safety regulations and carry out risk assessments.

This, combined with mounting insurance costs, led the Very Reverend Richard Lewis, its chairman, to announce in July last year that the charity would have to close. The Cathedral Camps board approached CSV to see if it could help.

The process

CSV agreed to look into the possibility of a partnership with Cathedral Camps. "When Cathedral Camps started, we were quite envious that we hadn't thought of the idea first," says Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, executive director of CSV. "So we had a meeting with the board and looked at how Cathedral Camps was spending its money. We found it was spending an enormous amount on insurance."

CSV decided that it could absorb Cathedral Camps because it already employs people to do health and safety checks for its numerous projects around the country. It could also help reduce insurance costs.

"All we have done in terms of insurance is to group Cathedral Camps' volunteers with our existing body of 250,000 volunteers," says Hoodless.

The results

In October last year, Cathedral Camps' trustees voted to transfer responsibility for running the charity to CSV.

Neither organisation wanted to go through a complicated merger or takeover process involving lawyers, so several Cathedral Camps trustees resigned to make way for six new trustees nominated by CSV. Five original Cathedral Camps trustees remained on the board. "The charity is still called Cathedral Camps," says Hoodless. "It will retain its charity number and it will work in the same way."

However, CSV will take over all of the financial responsibilities of running the camps. Cathedral Camps plans to run six courses this summer, the first of which will take place at Southwark Cathedral in London.

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