EXCLUSIVE: WRAP to apply for charitable status to safeguard its future
WRAP is set to overhaul its structure and apply for charitable status in a bid to diversify its funding base and secure its long-term future.
In an exclusive interview with edie, CEO Liz Goodwin said that the organisation had undertaken an internal consultation exercise about the move for the past few months and now had board approval to go ahead with the decision.
According to Goodwin, charitable status would allow WRAP to access a wider funding pool outside of dwindling government grants and ultimately, give the organisation greater freedom in its remit.
"This is one of the building blocks for us being sustainable in the longer term, I think it's good news and it provides more clarity that we are in control of our own destiny," she said.
Goodwin revealed that the application process was quite involved and that WRAP was currently taking legal advice to make the process as smooth as possible - but hoped it would be finalised by the Summer.
While the move could open the organisation up to receive public donations, Goodwin said the focus would be on securing private funding, particularly on WRAP-facilitated programmes such as the Product Sustainability Forum which have business-led involvement.
"We'd have to explore how businesses might contribute to charities, but there are very specific measures such as the carrier bag levy, in which retailers pass the proceeds onto charity ... that's a significant opportunity (for us)."
Asked whether charitable status would have any ramifications for securing future government grants going forward, Goodwin said that it "shouldn't be a barrier per se".
"Certainly that is something in our minds to make sure that there weren't any great issues raised. There are other charities who already receive funding from government such as Keep Britain Tidy. But that might be an another thing we need to look at in our structure because there are quite a lot of charities that have commercial arms," she added.
She said that the move would also enable the organisation to work with trusts and foundations more, which is part of WRAP's wider strategy going forward. She also confirmed that WRAP wouldn't be changing its name.
"There's a lot to be done before it actually happens in terms of working out how [WRAP] is structured, how we make it happen, what changes it means for our governance and our board. We now need to get on with the detail," she added.
Last summer, WRAP saw its central funding slashed by more than one-third as part of Defra's response to the Government's Spending Review. For the coming 2014-15 financial year, the organisation expects its budget from Defra to be around £18m.
Following the announcement today, Goodwin said that it was the right direction for WRAP to take.
"If I'm very honest I think it's going to be a tough few years, but I'm optimistic that we will get through it. We've got the drive and the passion to work out how to make it successful."