Charities raise £257,000 locally

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Seventy- one groups in the Carrick area are now registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

The Charity Commission was set up in 2009 to act as the regulator of charities in the province and from 2013 a rolling process of registration has been operating.

These include churches, community groups, and voluntary bodies in Carrickfergus, Whitehead and Greenisland.

A majority of groups are listed as ‘recently registered’ which means they do not yet have to post their financial accounts on the Commission website.

However the rolling registration of groups has resulted in a number completing the registration process and making their financial details available to the public online. The groups also have the opportunity to highlight the work which they are engaged in, encouraging donations and support. In the Carrick area nine groups have now completed the process.

They are Carrickfergus Gasworks Preservation Society, Carrickfergus Congregational Church, Carrickfergus Junior Gateway, Acorn Integrated Primary School Parents Council, The Gill’s Charity, Woodburn Playgroup, Alphabet Playgroup Greenisland, Good Morning East Antrim and Greenisland Primary School PTA. The current returns show that local charities raised over £257,000 in the financial year of registration.

The single highest income was for Carrickfergus Congregational Church with over £90,000, followed by Good Morning East Antrim (£75,600), Alphabet Playgroup, Greenisland (£42,700), Woodburn Playgroup (£39,900) and Carrickfergus Gasworks Preservation Society (£34,000). The largest spend was by Carrickfergus Congregational Church, with £114,900 going back into the community during the financial year.

Smaller charities in the area include The Gill’s Charity which had an annual expenditure of £6,100.

Over 5,400 groups in Northern Ireland have now been designated as having charitable purposes by the Commission.

Charitable registration began in Northern Ireland in 2013 and requires bodies to prove that they are acting in the public benefit. Once this process has been satisfactory completed, groups are then accorded charitable status.

The Charity Commission said that it was expected to take until later this year to complete the registration process for charitable organisations.