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(e) the saving of lives

Published: 20/08/2015
Updated: 20/08/2015


This purpose focuses on saving people whose lives are in danger, and on protecting life. Activities in pursuit of this purpose might include the provision of rescue services and training in first aid or other life saving techniques.

What do we mean by saving lives?

This purpose is specific to activities that directly contribute to the saving and protection of human life. It doesn’t cover other activities that advance health or relieve poverty or other kinds of need, which may indirectly result in the saving of lives by fewer people dying from disease or poor living conditions. The focus must be on the saving of lives.

What activities might provide public benefit when advancing this purpose?

In general, public benefit is the way that a charity makes a positive difference to the public. Activities might include:

  • providing life saving equipment, such as defibrillators
  • raising money for and/or supporting the emergency services
  • life boats
  • providing first aid training
  • community first responders
  • mountain rescue
  • suicide prevention programmes
  • assisting the victims of natural disasters.

Case 1: an organisation showed how it planned to save lives

We received an application from an organisation that wanted to provide Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) for use in remote rural areas of Scotland.

We had to decide if providing PADs for use in the community would save lives. The organisation provided evidence that showed in the case of cardiac arrest, the sooner help is given the better the survival rates.

The applicant told us that when an emergency call is made, the operator is aware that there is a PAD in the area and will inform the caller where it is sited and how to access it while also alerting the local doctor and ambulance service.

Given the remote locations in question and the importance of quick action in cardiac cases, we decided that providing PADs would save lives. The application to become a charity was successful.

Case 2: an organisations work in preventing suicide met the charity test

An organisation applied to us with purposes including the saving of lives: it intended to fund counselling for those at risk of suicide.

We asked the organisation for more information about its activities to see how they related to its purposes.  It told us that people looking for help would be assessed against generally accepted criteria of suicide risk.  The organisation would fund most of the cost of sessions with approved counsellors for those assessed as being at risk.

We considered that the organisation’s activities in trying to reduce the number of suicides were intended to provide public benefit in saving lives. The application to become a charity was successful.