It's critical to me that everyone who donates to Mini Mermaid and Young Tritons UK, whether through time, funds or resources, understands how we're structured, how we work and how we allocate funds and grants.
When I first started Mini Mermaid and Young Tritons UK, I made the conscious decision to establish it as not-for-profit, Community Interest Company.
So what does this mean? Like a charity, we are regulated by UK fundraising bodies. The main difference between us and a charity is that our directors can also function as employees. Currently, we have two part-time employees; any other people resources come from the tireless efforts of our volunteers.
To ensure transparency and accountability, we follow rules set out by the UK Government ‘Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies.’ As part of that, each year, we submit a report to Companies House.
Just as important as sharing our structure, I wanted to give you an idea of how we use the funds and grants we receive. Organisations from which we’ve received funding include The Jane Tomlinson Appeal, The VINCI UK Foundation, The Arsenal Foundation, Tesco’s Groundworks, Leeds Community Foundation, and Awards for All. In addition we have generous club and individual sponsors. As a result, 90 percent of our programmes are free or heavily subsidised.
Running a programme costs approximately £50 per child. The costs for the programmes fall into three main categories:
In addition to the professionally-developed curriculums, our programmes provide children with materials to record and celebrate their experience, come together as a team, and allow them to continually reflect on the experience and their achievements. Each child receives a high quality t-shirt; a full colour 28 page journal designed to capture their imagination and reflect on each week’s lesson; and a 5K challenge bib and a fabulous medal and certificate upon completion of the programmes.
Also, we provide our tremendous volunteer coaches with the materials they will need to run the programme, from pens, pencils and marker pens, to first aid kits and whistles. This school year so far, we have posted almost 40 packages!
VOLUNTEER TRAINING: Volunteer coaches are a vital part of our success. To best prepare them to deliver Mini Mermaid and Young Tritons UK programmes, we provide safeguarding courses, as well as suitable and comprehensive training. As our coaches enter into schools and community centres, they become part of the overall ecosystem responsible for the health and well-being of all the children with whom we’re lucky to work. Therefore, as well as providing our own in house safeguarding training, we also offer sponsorship of their attendance at Level 1 Safeguarding Children Training Courses.
In addition to safeguarding courses, our coaches receive in-person new coaching sessions, training videos and individual curriculum and programme guide books. As part of the training, we provide clear information on out of pockets expenses for which coaches can be reimbursed. For example, we reimburse our volunteers for the balanced snacks they give our Mermaids and Tritons to give them physical, emotional and mental fuel. This is especially critical when we work in areas of need.
INSURANCE: As with any organisation, we ensure we carry the proper insurance to protect all participants in our Mini Mermaid and Young Tritons UK programmes. Also, as a Community Interest Company, and because we work with children and vulnerable individuals we are responsible for conducting all enhanced DBS, reference checks and interviews for our volunteers.
I hope this gives you a sense of just how grateful we are for all donations and how mindful we are as an organisation to be as efficient and responsible as possible. I'm always open for any questions that you have, you can contact me directly at email@example.com