Spurgeons supports children and their families up and down the country. Their work covers a whole host of areas, including helping young carers, working with families affected by domestic abuse and preventing child criminal exploitation.
In July 2021, Fegans, a school counselling and parenting support charity in the South East of England merged with Spurgeons. With Fegans struggling and Spurgeons making a growing impact nationally, the merger would help achieve their shared vision “to be Christ-honouring and to ensure the work they carry out better serves that purpose”.
As part of the merger, Fegans gifted Spurgeons a range of properties, including their headquarters. And this was where they needed the expertise of the Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) team.
Taking on Fegans’ premises was critical for Spurgeons to continue delivering their services. However, although there would be no money transferred, Spurgeons needed our help to make sure taking on these buildings would be in their best interests and they wouldn’t become a liability.
At first glance, receiving properties as a gift might seem straightforward, but there was still a lot of expert background work that needed to be completed by the ACS team. Titles needed to be checked, searches undertaken and enquiries raised. The ACS team carried out intensive work to ensure that Spurgeons could make a fully informed decision on each of the properties prior to completion. They also undertook full due diligence on each of the properties and walked alongside the client when reviewing the information available from Fegans to ensure that each of the properties wouldn’t cause any problems for Spurgeons or incur additional costs in the future. All too often, charities accept gifts without realising the financial impact that they may have in the future due to the repair and maintenance obligations that are often overlooked.
A number of the properties were leasehold, therefore the terms of the leases need to be reviewed to ensure they could continue to be used for the charity’s work and there would be no breach of the lease terms with the respective landlords. Also, consent needed to be obtained from the landlords prior to completion which included entering into further deeds and documents to ensure that the charity’s work could continue from completion.
As ever, there was a certain amount of chasing and liaising with third parties to do. However, our approach prioritised relationships, making sure the merger got off to a positive start for everyone involved.
By helping to facilitate this merger, we’ve helped two organisations join forces so they can keep up their valuable work improving lives and the mental health of many children and their families.
Moving forward, Spurgeons is committed to continuing Fegans’ work and every member of staff has had their employment transferred. They also plan to make minimal changes and avoid disruptions for colleagues and the children and families they serve together.
“We worked hand-in-hand with the legal team representing Fegans to ensure there was a smooth transfer of assets while protecting Spurgeons against any potential liabilities.”
Laura Mynott, associate, Anthony Collins, Solicitors