Case 1: an organisation showed how its facilities were open to the public at large
We received an application from a model railway club which had been operating for over 20 years with a small membership.
Their main activities included planning, designing and constructing model railway. The applicant told us that the club provides social interaction for members as well as an opportunity to exchange information and knowledge with others.
We agreed that the club provided recreational facilities and activities for its members with the primary aim of improving their conditions of life through social interaction and leisure time activity.
We needed to make sure that the club’s facilities and activities were open to the public. As the club was in operation before applying to become a charity we were able to decide that it was sufficiently open for new members to join.
We decided that the club’s membership was open to the public and their activities, such as its annual exhibition and contribution to other clubs’ exhibitions, widened the benefit it provided to the public at large. The application to become a charity was successful.
Case 2: an organisation demonstrated how they would improve the conditions of life for a disadvantaged group
We received an application from an organisation which planned to provide theatre based activities for Wounded, Injured and Sick (WIS) forces personnel, with the object of improving their conditions of life.
The applicant told us that its aim was to overcome the disadvantages faced by WIS forces personnel in managing their injuries or mental health problems in order to reconnect with civilian life. Through devising, rehearsing and staging theatre productions, the applicant suggested that the beneficiaries would be able to share their experiences and feelings with the audience.
The applicant explained that, by applying forces’ skills in group work and communications in a different context, the beneficiaries would gain confidence and understand how they might use their skills in civilian life.
We were satisfied that the applicant intended to tailor its recreational activities to those who were in need of them due to the disadvantages faced by wounded or ill forces personnel returning to civilian life. We acknowledged that the planned activities were likely to improve the conditions of life for the beneficiaries. The application to become a charity was successful.
Case 3: an organisation’s activities did not support recreation, but did support the advancement of the arts
We received an application from an arts organisation whose purposes were the advancement of the arts and the organisation of recreational activities for its members.
The applicant intended to advance the arts by staging public performances of light opera, musicals and dance. The applicant stated that it also provided recreational activities to its members by giving them the opportunity to take part in the theatrical performances.
To be charitable, the recreational activities organised by an applicant must be:
- available to members of the public at large, or,
- available to male or female members of the public at large, or
- primarily intended for persons who are in need of them by reason of some type of disadvantage
In this case, individuals could only become full members of the organisation (and take part in the artistic activities) following a successful audition. These activities were not sufficiently open to the public, or targeted at those suffering from a particular disadvantage.
We explained to the applicant that we did not believe the recreational activities satisfied this purpose due to the limitations on joining its membership. The applicant agreed and the application to become a charity was successful on the basis that the organisation’s purpose was the advancement of the arts.