FRAMEWORK: STRUCTURE, POLICY, LEGISLATION, FINANCING
STRUCTURE OF THE COMMUNITY CENTRES
The community centres are non-profit organisations and have a general assembly and a board of directors. The VGC is the governing authority and provides a building, personnel and operating resources. In practice, the non-profit organisation is primarily responsible for the day-to-day activities, in collaboration with the municipality’s culture department, the library and other local partners. Together they implement the local cultural policy.
Non-profit community centres
The non-profit association has a number of legal and contractual obligations, such as approving the budget. In addition, the board of directors or the general assembly helps to steer the activities at the community centre: from artistic projects, courses and children’s activities to parties, information evenings and communication. They are free to set their own priorities and develop activities, together with the many local partners, organisations and citizens.
You can access the articles of association of each individual community centre at the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (under ‘Publications in the Belgian Official Journal’).The annual accounts can also be found there, under ‘Publications of annual accounts NBB’.
The general assembly provides feedback on the functioning of the community centre once or twice a year.
Who can become a member? Unincorporated associations and non-profit organisations: citizens’ initiatives, parents’ associations, associations for socio-cultural work, youth, sport, amateur arts, senior citizens, environment, ethnic-cultural minorities, etc. You can also become a member as a private person, because you are interested in (cultural) activities on offer in your municipality or because you would like to put your specific expertise to good use in your local area.
A number of decisions can only be taken by the members of the general assembly who have voting rights: amendments to the articles of association, the appointment and dismissal of the directors, approval of the budget and accounts. A two-thirds majority is required to amend the articles of association. For all other decisions, a simple majority of the votes cast is sufficient.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors is more closely involved in thinking about the direction in which the community centre should develop. Board members usually discuss and come to agreements on how they will work together and how often they will meet. As a board member, you give advice and articulate the needs of the wider local community. Your opinion, expertise and ideas strengthen and challenge the centre’s team.
The board of directors is responsible for the management and representation of the association, if these tasks have not been assigned to the general assembly. The board members make decisions by a simple majority of votes cast by the members present or represented.
The non-profit community centres also have a trustee from the VGC and a trustee from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The local cultural policy coordinator can also be invited to be a trustee.
Community Centres Service
The Community Centres Service comprises a dozen or so employees who support the non-profit community centres in the areas of business management, infrastructure, communication, administration and socio-cultural work in the broadest sense of the word. They work from the VGC’s administration department. Other VGC services also support the community centres: Finance, Personnel, Urban Policy, Buildings and Estates, for example.
The way in which each community centre operates is governed by the Policy. Each centre draws up its own Local Cultural Policy Plan together with its local partners (including the library and the municipal service for Dutch-speaking culture). Read more about Local Cultural Policy in Brussels and download the plans of each municipality.
The community centres must adhere to the VGC Regulation of 2012. In this context, each community centre has concluded a covenant with the VGC, in which the assignments and the division of responsibilities are laid down.
The policy of the community centres falls under the strategic long-term plan for 2016-2020 of the VGC’s General Directorate of Culture, Youth and Sport. This plan includes a Management and Operational Plan for the Community Centres Service for the period 2015-2021, which sets out a number of strategic and operational objectives for the N22 network. Each community centre also draws up its own plan with locally inspired measures, anchored in the Local Cultural Policy.
The community centres are mainly funded by the VGC. They may also receive additional funds from the municipality or apply for project grants.
As an indication, the amounts below are taken from the VGC budget for 2019:
- Staff: € 10,340,000
- Operating resources: € 1,033,812
- General operating costs (communication, IT management and operating costs, etc.): € 276,676
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