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Save Link Academy CIC from the Land and Property Services
Help Save Link Academy CIC from the Land and Property Services and the collection of Business Rates from an arts community group.
Why is this important?
Land and Property Services Kill Link Academy CIC
5 years ago we opened link Academy a Community Interest Company in the heart of the city to provide artistic space for musicians. A Community Interest Company which is non-profit and to provide access and space for young musicians to create.
As we are not recognised as a charity we had to apply for an re-evaluation and exception in Business Rates from land and property services, as we were not for profit, music education, working with young people and working in the fine Arts this is possible as rates exemptions have been allocated in the past under similar circumstances.
After lengthy discussions and little movement form the Land and property services the process was long and detailed, we had to prove our worth providing documentation accounts and numerous meetings in the building. After four years the land and property services give us an exemption for future operation, and became the first Community interest company to receive an exemption in Northern Ireland, however did not give us a full backdate and are looking for us to pay for the year 2012 and partially of 2013 (City of Culture Years), this amounts to £11,000. Our legal team who helped us with obtaining the exemption done fantastic work, but felt this was the best deal on the table and work forward with the exemption and try repay the back dated fee.
We tried to negotiate a repayment deal but the Land and property services would only go into a short-term repayment deal which is impossible to achieve.
Where the problem exists.
As a community interest company the directors can be paid, however we decided to alter our articles of association to reflect this and insert a clause to prevent directors from collecting remunerations from the company.
However never since our incorporation no directors have been paid for any services or collected remunerations from the company. We have all worked voluntary for five years to sustain the Artistic hub and Space.
All our accounts to company house submitted annually show that no directors collected remunerations since our incorporation.
The land and property services have backdated the exemption to the date where we inserted the clause to prevent directors from collecting remunerations. And no exemption for the period when the company was operating when it was possible to pay directors for services. (Note no Directors have ever or intended in the future to receive pay. This was a decision by the company and not one that was enforced by the land and property services).
After consideration and conversations with people in the land and property services, legally and politically about the reasons we did not receive an exemption for the initial period, it is evident that we have support. However today no legalisation exists to protect community groups like us from governmental services.
During the period to which the property services are looking to recuperated rent we received funding from three different bodies, The Ireland Fund, the British Council, and the Derry and Arts Councils.
Why is it possible for the government to give with one hand and not protect with the other who it gives to?
Also it is clear that this is costing the government more in fees and working hrs. of staff,
We at at link believe that we have operated the company in a non profit ethos with the emphasis on music , education and youth, and no directors have been paid. We have worked tirelessly to maintain a building in the centre of the city to provide access to the arts culture and music, knowing that this is an essential hub for many young musicians.
Next week Thursday 8th, the land and property services will move to bankrupt the company in the high court for the amount of rates not recovered.
Today I am asking you for your help to stay this judgment and encourage the property services to revisit the issue for full exemption.
Thank You Kindly,
From all the musicians and artists at Link Academy CIC