Thursday 18 January 2018

Building hope on helplessness can be a costly business

Capuchin Day Centre

UNCONDITIONAL: Br Kevin Crowley. Photo: Tony Gavin
UNCONDITIONAL: Br Kevin Crowley. Photo: Tony Gavin

Brother Kevin Crowley founded the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People in Bow Street, Dublin in 1969. From these humble beginnings, the centre has grown and now provides over 700 meals each day in addition to 1,500 food parcels every Wednesday for the homeless of Dublin. On an average day, they provide over 250 breakfasts and 500 dinners.

For 40 years, through good times and bad, the centre has provided a welcoming face to those who are in need. However, with the onset of the economic downturn, there has been an unprecedented demand for the services provided by the centre.

Brother Kevin and the volunteers have seen an increase in child poverty since 2008. To support these children and their families, the centre provides family areas for parents and children to enjoy a nutritious meal together in a warm and welcoming environment.

The Capuchins prioritise the needs of rough sleepers and the homeless. Increased energy and water charges for shower facilities along with the cost of clothing and hygiene products have added to the significant cost pressures already facing the centre.

Ever conscious of professionally managing the delivery of these services, Brother Kevin and the Capuchin Order engage Smith & Williamson to support them in ensuring robust financial controls and processes are in place.

From our work with the Capuchins it is clear that they are heavily reliant on donations. So it's worth noting that you could significantly increase the value of your donations to the charity by completing a simple form.

Charities can claim tax relief in respect of certain donations made by individuals. The tax relief effectively increases the value of the donation received from the individual by almost 45pc. For example, say an individual made donations to the Capuchin charity totalling €1,000 during 2014, the charity should be entitled to claim tax relief in respect of that donation in the amount of €449.

In order for the charities to claim the relief, the individual donors will need to complete either a Form CHY3 or Form CHY4 and provide this to the charity. Both these forms are easily available on Revenue's website.

The support we provide to Brother Kevin and his staff ensures that the donations, upon which the centre depends, are applied where they are needed most in helping the homeless.

With an increased demand on services and resources, we are conscious that transparency in accounting is vital as never before. The centre's main source of funding comes from public donations, fundraising and bequests. Donors rightly demand assurances that contributions are being used for the maximum benefit of those in need.

The Capuchins appreciate the ongoing support of the public, particularly at a time when many don't have significant disposable income. The Capuchins are conscious to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from donations, and to this end we work with them to provide tax-efficient mechanisms for donations.

Charitable organisations have faced scrutiny in recent years as to how they use the proceeds of fundraising activities. Members of the public are looking for an increased level of visibility on how their donations are used.

This is why a voluntary code of good governance has been developed. All charitable organisations are encouraged to adopt it. The aim is to assist all those involved in charitable organisations to run the organisation to the highest possible standards and give confidence to all stakeholders.

The Capuchin Day Centre has always had a very robust governance ethos. Smith & Williamson has significant expertise in the charitable sector and are in a unique position to assist organisations to identify gaps, advise on appropriate changes and help implement new governance practices.

John Fisher

Director, Tax Services to Businesses, Smith & Williamson

Aine Reidy

Director, Assurance and Business Services, Smith & Williamson

Michelle O'Donoghue

Senior Manager, Assurance and Business Services, Smith & Williamson

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