Ferryhill and District Angling Club denied charitable status

Fishing club was not established exclusively for charitable purposes, says regulator

A fishing club in County Durham has had its application for charitable status rejected by the Charity Commission after an internal review. 

Ferryhill and District Angling Club applied for charitable status with objects "to promote participation in a recreational activity for the benefit of the inhabitants of Ferryhill and the surrounding areas through the provision of angling facilities with the aim of improving the quality of life".

But the commission concluded that the organisation was not established for exclusively charitable purposes because the promotion of angling did not count as providing "facilities for recreation or other leisure time-occupation", as required by the Recreational Charities Act 1958.

Documents on the Charity Commission website show that in a review of its interpretation of the act carried out in 2000, the regulator concluded it was difficult to interpret the provision of facilities for a single sport as having the purpose of improving conditions of life, as required by the act, "since it seems to be concerned essentially with the promotion of the sport in question".

The 1958 act cites village halls, community centres, women's institutes and recreation grounds as examples of organisations that would count as charitable.

The commission also judged that the angling club, which charges annual membership fees of up to £45, did not pass the public benefit test.

Third Sector was unable to contact the angling club, which has six weeks to lodge a case with the charity tribunal should it wish to appeal.

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