Who is ACPIN?
ACPIN is one of the largest professional networks recognised by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). ACPIN covers all aspects of physiotherapy related to the needs of neurologically impaired adults, their relatives and carers. After a challenging but worthwhile journey, ACPIN is proud to have achieved Registered Charity Status in September 2018.
People generally describe charities with words like: ‘Giving’, ‘Help’, ‘Hope’, ‘Assistance’, ‘Care’, ‘Social and Human Aid’. Considering that ACPIN is an organisation almost entirely run by volunteers, it made sense for us to take this next important step.
Getting formal recognition as a registered Charity was one thing, but having the governance and structure associated with a charity status is invaluable, as it gives reassurance and trust to organisations who may wish to support, partner or collaborate with ACPIN in the future.
Where Did It All Begin?
Approximately 40 years ago a group of physiotherapists met after work to discuss their clinical practice. This grew to become a bigger club with invited colleagues and friends and eventually became a professional body. Then, 5 years ago with over 3000 members in the UK, we started the process of making ACPIN’s organisational structure fit for the purpose of an independent professional organisation. Here, one of our ultimate goals was for ACPIN to become a Charity. This goal was realised on September 26 2018, when the Charity Commission awarded ACPIN it’s Charity status.
This was no easy task and along the way ACPIN had to change its structure in terms of operations and governance. We reformed from an Executive Committee and a National Meeting to a Board of Directors, taking operational responsibility for the entire organisation. We also formed a Council with representatives from each region to whom the Board is responsible.
What Does The ACPIN Charity Stand For?
ACPIN’s Charity Objects are: “to preserve and protect good health for the public benefit within areas of neurology or physiotherapy or cognate health-related fields (including neuro-physiotherapy, neurosciences, neuro-technology, neurosurgery, neuro-rehabilitation and adjacent subdisciplines) through education, training, scholarship, research, knowledge-creation, dissemination and exchange, leadership, continuing development and overall practice excellence and achievement and fostering dialogue on related health and social care policy and professionalism. “
Whilst these Charity Objects are similar with other charitable causes, they clearly resulted in a widening of ACPIN’s scope, compared to its historical functions. It should be recognised that the conferences, courses and lectures which we have organised in the past have already had a massively positive impact on public health. The simple fact is that better-educated professionals can provide better care for their patients and enhanced support for their carers and relatives. Through provision of CPD training together with developing professional guidance in order to foster further evidence based clinical practice, we are serving and protecting the good health of the public.
ACPIN Charitable Objectives
With charity status comes the responsibility to act in a certain way, and with this mind, all the board members signed up to the ‘Nolan Principles of Public Life’ at the start of this transformation. These principles are centered around selflessness and acting for the benefit of others and society as a whole.
The ACPIN Charity focuses on three key development priorities:
- Delivery and reporting on impact from activities.
Financial accountability of the funds raised through ACPIN’s national and regional activities is extremely important to us. We go to great lengths to ensure that every last penny of fundraising and expenditure is accounted for in a clear and transparent way, and in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Charity Commission.
Our new website will facilitate the centralisation of course bookings which will not only provide greater visibility of the popularity of our courses but will also help us to evaluate and record our funds in one central location. We have also set up a National Treasurers forum to report on other regional activities all of which will feed into our central accounting. As a registered charity, we are required to submit an Annual Report and this will be published in accordance with Companies House guidelines.
Over the last few years, we have made significant progress to enhance our organisation and development, thereby providing greater clarity on the responsibilities and accountabilities of each member within the organisation. This includes members of the Board, the Regional Committee and ACPIN Office paid staff.
Fundraising is one of the first activities people think about when they hear or read about charities. Of course this can be done through collections, organising events and sponsorship, but fundraising was not something which we considered in ACPIN’s initial objectives. This was, in fact, an idea that the CSP liked when they were first briefed about our plans in 2015. The CSP staff suggested that there could be a great opportunity to get public support for the development of the Neuro Physiotherapy profession
Imagine if every ACPIN member kept a small collection box on their desk where patients or relatives could make a small donation in recognition of the good service they received? Considering there are currently 3,180 ACPIN members, if each one managed to raise just £100 this way, we would achieve a total of £318,000 in one year.
Of course, fundraising needs to be carefully planned and whilst we are keen to raise funds, we also need to consider the profession’s many important projects and gear our fundraising to help these fulfill their maximum potential.
There are other funding opportunities where funding can be applied for from organisations providing grants, however these grants often have conditions attached and stipulate that the funds must be used in a specific way.
ACPIN will seek to develop ideas of what projects to undertake and will then research grant opportunities which align with those outputs before submitting any funding applications.
ACPIN will manage fundraising projects to show what impact they make in relation to their objectives. These impact reports will be submitted to the Charity Commission on an annual basis. The ACPIN office will play a pivotal role in managing each project and collating evidence for impact but we do need ACPIN Members to volunteer with their ideas and a willingness to undertake project work. We recognise that our fundraising experience to date has been limited and are prepared to seek professional support in order to help us get started.
Delivery and Reporting
As explained earlier, all money raised must be managed and reported in a transparent and safe way, which avoids exposing ACPIN to potential scams and fraud. This goes hand in hand with in-depth knowledge throughout the decision-making process, assessing the potential impact of the project and collecting robust and quantifiable evidence for the final report.
In order to ensure the success of the first Impact Report, it may be necessary for us to commission some professional support. Once we have established a successful route, we should have the necessary templates in place to fully support the reporting function from the ACPIN Office.
Effective project management is essential to deliver on the promises we make during our fundraising efforts, in terms of having the desired impact within the available raised budget. The Charity Commission will of course report on the impact of our projects, but ACPIN will also rely on its members to give a fair and objective appraisal of any of the projects we manage. Going forward, we will look for further opportunities to share our project results with the wider public so that we can raise even more awareness of the work that ACPIN does.
Achieving Charity status is just the beginning of ACPIN’s an exciting future story which we hope will see many interesting and challenging chapters. Please get in touch with us if you have any fundraising or project ideas which you believe will create real value for our profession or support the ACPIN’s objectives in society. Visit our website for more information and to sign up as a new member, renew or change your membership details.