Charity Commission re-registers reading room charity after tribunal appeal

The Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation won its appeal over the Ellenborough and Netherton Reading and Recreation Room in Cumbria

Ellenborough and Netherton Reading and Recreation Room
Ellenborough and Netherton Reading and Recreation Room

The Charity Commission has reversed its decision to not re-register a former charitable building in north-west England after an appeal to the charity tribunal by a social care charity for coal miners.

The Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation appealed to the charity tribunal after the commission decided in February 2013 not to re-register the Ellenborough and Netherton Reading and Recreation Room (formally known as the Miners’ Welfare Reading and Recreation Room) in Maryport, Cumbria.

The building had been a charitable trust since 1908, but was deregistered by the commission in 1997. In a statement on its decision to re-register the charity, the commission said it had been deregistered because it had not been operating.

"It was established some time later that the premises were still in operation, albeit occupied by a non-charitable social club," the statement said. "It became apparent that the stated reason for removal may not have represented the full picture as the charity's governing document (a 1908 declaration of trust) did not allow the premises to be applied and used exclusively for charitable purposes."

In May this year, the tribunal granted the CISWO a stay of its appeal until 25 July, after it was agreed that the commission would conduct an internal review of the case.

The commission’s statement said that the CISWO provided additional correspondence to the review that had not been available when it made its original decision. 

A tribunal consent order, published on 19 July, said that the commission had concluded that Ellenborough and Netherton Reading and Recreation Room should be reinstated on the register of charities.

A spokeswoman for the commission said the regulator’s review considered the law and evidence relating to the registration of the charity in 1964, its removal from the register in 1997 and the fact that the 1908 trust was capable of validation under the Charitable Trusts (Validation) Act 1954.

"The commission concluded that it is more likely than not that the reading room charity is a charity within the meaning of Section 1(1) of the Charities Act 2011." 

The tribunal consent order gave directions for the CISWO’s appeal to tribunal to be withdrawn.

Third Sector was unable to speak to anyone at CISWO or the reading room charity for comment.

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