Becoming a Charity

Frequently asked questions:
Who can become a charity?
Should we become a charity?

The main source of all guidance on and what it means to become a charity is The Charity Commission. They are the main regulator and registry for all charities and publish a wide range of free information. More information can be found on their website at

Deciding whether to become a charity (or any other legal form an organisation can take) requires careful thought. It brings both opportunities and responsibilities; it is more than a means to an end.

The 2006 Charities Act sets out the main objects which form part of the ‘heads of charities’ as follows:

  • the prevention or relief of poverty
  • the advancement of education
  • the advancement of religion
  • the advancement of health or the saving of lives
  • the advancement of citizenship or community development
  • the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science
  • the advancement of amateur sport
  • the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconiliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity
  • the advancement of environmental protection or improvement
  • the relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage
  • the advancement of animal welfare
  • the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown, or the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services and
  • any other purposes charitable in law

Legal Entities

There is more than one form a new group can take than being a charity. You may find it helpful to talk this over so do call us at VAAC so that we can help you think it through.

Our brief guide to the various legal models available and what they offer may be helpful here Legal Structures

Telephone: 01243 840305


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