What is a CIC and why are we becoming one?

The Steampunks of Gloucestershire is applying to become a CIC.

What’s a CIC you ask? Well, it means a Community Interest Company (Limited by Guarantee). This means as we go forward we will have legal standing and elected officers; we will have a constitution and a bank account. This even means we will have a ‘Mission Statement’! 

(Dear God, that sounds like Star Trek!)

All well and good you might say, or not, but the question is; Why? We have successfully run seven events, without any need to formalise our group. What will becoming a CIC do for us?

As each of our events has grown in scale and complexity, we have become victims of our successes. Our ‘overheads’ are minimal due to the partnership formula we use, but there are still expenditures that have had to rely upon the generosity of our members or come straight out of I and Nikki’s pockets.

As a group, the SoG has no access to financial resources. Recently to finance our outreach stall at the 2024 What’s You Game, I had to go cap in hand to the long-term members and ask for contributions (which they willingly provided). Remember, because we do not charge entry during the day we have no income from the events.

As a CIC we will be in the position to apply for small grants from various funding sources in Gloucestershire. Funding for specific things, such as our own PA equipment, banners, publicity, printing etc, and funding for community beneficial activities. We may also be in a position to help cover the expenditure of our daytime performers, who have been doing what they do, for free and at their own costs. We can also raise funds for ourselves, with activities like the Goblin Market, and selling badges. With such funds, we could look at doing other things and activities.

We, the SoG, as a group need to expand and grow, to meet the demands of the growth of our events. We need more of you, our members, to be willing to ‘step up’ and get involved on a practical level, and we need people willing to take responsibility. We need YOU. And you will need the protection of a constitution and formal processes to ensure you do not feel that your contribution is being ignored or taken for granted.

Finally, I, Nikki and the teams around us, are exhausted after our events, and none of us are getting any younger. One day we are going to have to hand over the reins of the SoG events to younger, fitter, hands. They may be people who are already part of the SoG or members yet to come. However, becoming a CIC ensures that the SoG stays as it is, that our fundamental principles, such as providing free access to all during the day time events, are enshrined and legally protected, and no one can come in and try to milk it as a ‘Brass Cash Cow,’ as some other events have become.

So, as I said, the SoG needs YOU. Our active members are still a very small group. We need reliable members who are willing to step up and take responsibility for everything from organising the Saunters/Parades or Curating the Exhibitions, to running the Cheese Rolling, from booking acts to putting together the programme for printing. It won’t take a huge amount of your time but do not say ‘Aye!’ unless you, most importantly, have the drive to do it.

Mat McCall