Congratulating the latest charities to be successfully registered, Northern Ireland’s charity regulator has called on all charitable organisations to take action now to ensure the Charity Commission has their details, ready for registration.
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland began compulsory charity registration for the first time in December 2013, marking a new chapter for charity regulation in Northern Ireland.
The move saw the regulator begin the process of registering the thousands of charitable organisations which are currently operating in Northern Ireland, as well as marking the opening of the Commission’s new online register of charities.
Frances McCandless, Charity Commission Chief Executive, explained: "According to estimates there are over 7,000 charities operating in Northern Ireland, each one of which will be required to apply to register as a charity.
"However, until registration is complete, we have no definitive way of knowing exactly how many charities there are - and the only way we can ensure we cover all charities is with the assistance of the charities themselves.
"It is vital that all charities take a few moments to prepare for registration by checking our registration lists to ensure we know about them and have their correct contact details and, if not, to get in touch with us as soon as possible.
"It is compulsory for all organisations which are, or might be, charities to apply for registration, regardless of their size, annual income and whether or not they have a charitable tax number from HMRC.
"Taking a few moments to check that we have your details will ensure we have the information we need to call you forward to register, providing you with an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that you are an open and accountable charity, operating within the law."
With estimates claiming there are between 7,000 and 12,000 charities currently in Northern Ireland, the Charity Commission is rolling registration out in a managed process over coming months and years.
Charitable organisations will be called forward in tranches to apply to register, with the first three tranches - equating to around 850 organisations - having now been called forward by the Commission.
Ms McCandless continued: "Each charity has three months to apply, starting from the date they are invited forward, giving each organisation enough time to prepare their application and documentation in advance.
"However, it is important to note that registration should not be a daunting process as we are asking for information that all charities should have anyway, and we also offer a range of registration support on our website.
"We are now starting to see the first registrations filter through from the application process and we look forward to seeing the new, online register of charities begin to fill up as 2014 progresses."
Amongst the latest organisations to be registered by the Commission are:
JCP Trust Ltd (NI Charity number NIC100030)
Dreamscheme Northern Ireland (NIC100033)
The Friends of Nigeria - RVH save a Heart Foundation (NIC100026)
For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission Communications Officer, on telephone: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07827338978 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org