OCF has provided a home for the Eynsham Museum Fund, which aims to nurture the pride of the community for its roots and provide an inspiration for future generations. Using OCF for the fund means the villagers are following a recent recommendation by the Charity Commission about alternatives to creating a new charity.
Eynsham is a diverse village in West Oxfordshire – but it also has a long and prestigious history. In particular, the large medieval abbey dating from 1005 stood for over 500 years and for a short time made Eynsham a larger and more important centre than Oxford, until it was dissolved by Henry VIII. Many interesting examples of carved abbey stones are hidden away in storerooms and are never seen by the public.
A group of enthusiastic local historians came up with the idea of a museum to display and put into context these stones, as well as other artifacts from every period of Eynsham’s history, using them to tell the story of the village’s past in a way that is accessible to all. Wanting to embark on a long-term fundraising project, they investigated options for a legal structure for keeping the funds that would provide a safe, long-term home for the fund, without it being associated with any one individual from the group.
The fundholders say: “The aim of working within OCF is to be secure but entirely transparent within an independent and highly regarded charitable organisation. As a named fund under the auspices of OCF we eliminate all the complications of creating an entirely new charity. The EMF will also have access to OCF’s professional expertise, established infrastructure and good governance.”
In choosing OCF as a repository for their fundraising, the villagers are abiding by recent guidance published by the Charity Commission, which emphasises the time and effort needed to set up a new charity. The Commission’s guidance states: “There are over 160,000 registered charities in England and Wales and many more unregistered charities. Setting up and running a charity takes a lot of work. If you want to help your local community but don’t have lots of spare time to run a charity, you could consider setting up a fund with a Community Foundation instead.”