About the Friends - Constitution and Remit

Friends of Wimbledon and Putney Commons

About Us

I.  Background

In recognition of the opportunity to capitalise and build on the goodwill of the local community, the establishment of a supporters’ organisation was incorporated into WPCC’s Vision and Strategy, which received WPCC’s Board (‘the Board’) approval in June 2017.

“Action C1.1 (c):  Initiate a Supporters of Wimbledon and Putney Commons as a means to help raise the profile of the Commons within local communities and to assist with raising funds to support specific initiatives.”

Following the February 2018 triennial elections, the newly constituted WPCC Board further endorsed the objective as part of its review of the 2018 to 2021 Business Plan in May 2018.  The proposed Friends’ model was approved in principle by the Board at its meeting of 11 February 2019 with further consideration and approval by the Board at its meeting of 7 April 2019.

II.  Organisational Structure, Purpose and Constitutional Considerations

The Board agreed that the Friends of Wimbledon and Putney Commons would be Conservator-led and form an integral part of WPCC, managed by Conservators and supported by officers, to achieve two objectives as set out below.

1.  Fundraising - Provide a structure and mechanism through which members of the local community are able to register their ongoing support of WPCC, primarily through the contribution of annual subscription fees, and to be recognised for this support principally through their inclusion in a community of like-minded individuals with a shared sense of purpose;

2.  Community Engagement and Collective Celebration - Provide a structure and mechanism through which members of the local community are able to actively support Conservators in the management and delivery of a limited number of special events designed to promote community engagement and collective celebration.

It was agreed that the Friends of Wimbledon and Putney Commons would not be a separate organisation with its own constitution and funds and that everything done in relation to the recognition, organisation and encouragement of supporters would be carried out by WPCC or its officers acting under their control, and paid for from WPCC’s general funds (ie, the WPCC Conservancy Fund) referred to in section 82 of the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act 1871 (‘the 1871 Act’):

“Section 82. The receipts of the Conservators from rates under this Act, and, their other revenue under this Act shall be carried to and constitute a fund to be called the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservancy Fund, and that fund (in this Act referred to as the Conservancy Fund) shall be applied from time to time in and for the purposes of the execution of the duties of the Conservators under this Act and not otherwise.”

Charity law recognises the necessity for fundraising and facilitates its effectiveness by enabling charity trustees to make sensible arrangements which may encourage and regulate their fundraising.  Although the 1871 Act contains very little mention of fundraising, there is an express power to accept subscriptions and donations in section 83 of the 1871 Act:

“Section 83. The Conservators from time to time may receive subscriptions or donations in aid of their revenue, and shall carry the same to the Conservancy Fund, or shall, if the respective subscribers or donors so desire, apply the same for particular purposes of this Act.”

It is clear from section 83 that WPCC is empowered to accept donations and subscriptions, which may be given either for general revenue purposes or for specific purposes within the ambit of WPCC’s purposes under the 1871 Act in accordance with the wishes of the subscribers or donors.  In accordance with general trust law, funds received for specific purposes will be accounted for separately from the generality of the organisation’s funds.