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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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First research report from new register of charities

With over 500 charities now listed on the register of charities - and more added every week - the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has today published its first snapshot report from the new register.

The report (available below) was created following analysis of 2,407 trustees from 352 charities registered with the Commission, and it has revealed some interesting results:

  • There was an even split between genders, with 1,192 female trustees (49.5%) and 1,212 (50.4%) male trustees.
  • According to the data, over one third (36%) of charity trustees are 65 years and over.
  • The average age of a charity trustee in Northern Ireland is 55 years of age and the oldest trustee in the sample is 90 years of age.
  • The report noted that the youngest trustees are 19, however, only 1% of trustees fall within the 18-24 years age bracket. 
  • The average number of trustees in a charity is seven and, based on the number of charities in Northern Ireland, this means that there could be upwards of 49,000 individual charity trustees. 

Download 20141110 A snapshot of charity trustees in Northern Ireland - research report PDF (694.9 KB)

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, welcomed the report, the first which has been undertaken using data from the new register of charities

She commented: “While the register of charities is still growing, I am delighted that we are now in a position where we can start to use and analyse some of the important data it holds on Northern Ireland’s charities. 

“It is compulsory for all charities in Northern Ireland to apply to the Commission for registration, a process which is expected to take three to four years to complete in full.

“At the end of that process, the public register will be the definitive directory of charities in Northern Ireland, providing a range of comprehensive data on the charities, their trustees, activities and areas of operation.

“I have no doubt this data will be extremely useful for a variety of purposes, from sector research and learning, through to supporting charities in demonstrating their work and impact on society.”   

Compulsory charity registration began in December 2013, with the Commission managing the registration of Northern Ireland’s thousands of charities by calling organisations forward to apply in tranches. 

With registration now well underway, all charities are urged to take action as soon as possible by checking they are on the Commission’s online registration lists and, if not, submitting an Expression of intent form before the end of December.

“Under charity law, charities must apply for registration so it is important they get on board now by checking our website to see if they are on a registration list and following the next steps, as outlined.

“For example, if a charity checks the lists and they are not included, they must submit an Expression of Intent form to the Commission before the end of December – so it is imperative that all charities take action now,” Ms McCandless concluded. 

The Commission’s registration lists and a range of information and support on the steps charities should take to prepare for registration is available on the Commission’s website


For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on telephone: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07827338978 or email: 

Notes to editors

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, established under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008. 

Under charity law, an organisation must apply for registration as a charity in Northern Ireland, regardless of its income, size or whether or not it has received charitable tax status from HMRC, if:

  • it has exclusively charitable purposes 
  • it is governed by the law of Northern Ireland 
  • it has control and direction over its governance and resources. 

Further information on the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and charity registration is available on the Commission’s website