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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Deputy Chief Charity Commissioner launches new Starting a charity guidance

Northern Ireland’s Deputy Chief Charity Commissioner, Walter Rader, has today launched new guidance to assist anyone thinking about setting up a new charity.

The guidance, launched today in celebration of Trustees Week 2014, provides a wealth of information to anyone considering setting up a charity, including how they can ensure they comply with new charity law in Northern Ireland. 

Mr Rader commented: “Charities hold a strong place in their communities, with many new charities set up by individuals and organisations to support causes which are close to people’s hearts.

“However, while setting up a charity may seem like a way to give something back, it’s important to consider the best way forward and ensure you have a full understanding of the legal and administrative requirements.

“The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland’s new guidance will provide that support, guiding people on the key considerations and decisions they have to make when setting up a charity.”

The Commission’s Starting a charity guidance, available below, covers a number of areas, including:

  • Is a new charity the best way forward?
  • What do I want my charity to achieve?
  • Charity structure and governance arrangements.
  • Choosing a name for your charity.
  • Preparing the charity for the future.

Download CCNI EG039 Starting a new charity PDF (858 KB)

The guidance also provides an overview of the new regulations for charities in Northern Ireland, including compulsory charity registration and annual reporting requirements.

Mr Rader continued: “All charities must be aware of – and comply with - their statutory duty to apply for charity registration, which includes an onus to take action now to prepare for registration.

“The Commission is managing the registration of the thousands of charities in Northern Ireland by calling charities forward to apply to register in tranches.

“However, all charities must prepare for registration now by checking that they are on the Commission’s online registration lists and, if not, submitting an Expression of intent form before the end of December.”

“Charity registration is here to stay so I would strongly urge charities not to delay, check the Commission’s registration lists, use the guidance available and ensure your charity complies with the law,” Mr Rader 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 here.


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. It was 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. 

The Act also states that the Commission must keep a publicly accessible register of all charities in Northern Ireland. This register is now live, with the names and information of over 500 charities which have registered with the Commission to date.

Trustees' Week is an annual event to showcase the work of trustees and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference. Trustees’ Week 2014 is running from 10 to 16 November 2014. For more information visit