Charity Commission registers the first charitable incorporated organisations

The Lara Jones Charitable Foundation, founded in memory of an English teacher who died while backpacking in Cuba last year, is first to be approved

Lara Jones
Lara Jones

The Charity Commission has registered the first three charitable incorporated organisations, the new legal form for charities. 

The regulator said 30 organisations had applied to it for CIO status.

The much-delayed new form, which was included in the Charities Act 2006, will allow charities to enter into contracts as corporate entities with limited or no liability for trustees. Charities taking up CIO status will not need to register with Companies House or be subject to company law, and will be registered with and regulated by the commission.

The first CIO to be registered was the Lara Jones Charitable Foundation, which was set up in memory of Lara Jones, from Lancashire, who died at the age of 26 while backpacking in Cuba in April.

Jones taught English in South America. The charity aims to give underprivileged youngsters the chance to learn English in countries including Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

The other two registered CIOs are Khushi Feet, which aims to raise money for schools for children living on the streets of Kolkata, India, and the Better Way to be Charitable Incorporated Organisation, established by partners at the London law firm Bates Wells & Braithwaite for their own charitable giving.

A further 107 people have started applications to register CIOs but have yet to submit them to the commission, and its contact centre has fielded more than 300 calls on the topic. 

Applications opened on 10 December for new charities with incomes of more than £5,000, but they could not be registered until 3 January because the relevant regulations did not come into force until 28 days after being made.

A timetable sets out when different types of applications for CIO status will be given priority. The window for existing unincorporated charities with incomes of more than £250,000 will open from late March. This staggered approach is designed to help the commission manage demand.

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