Charities and community groups

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Freegle communities can welcome and even encourage the participation of local charities and community groups, but may feel it is important that they follow the same rules as individual members. You might be concerned about the authenticity of charities and community groups. To check if a charity is registered or pending registration you can go here:

or here:

Depending on which country you are in, there are different rules about whether an organisation can call itself a charity.

In England and Wales, charities do not have to be registered with the Charity Commission, although an organisation cannot call itself a charity unless it abides by certain laws.

In Scotland, a charity has to be included on the Scottish Charity Register. However, an organisation not registered as a charity in Scotland can refer to itself as a charity if all of the following apply:

  • It is established under the law of another country other than Scotland and entitled to refer to itself as charity in that country and managed wholly or mainly outwith Scotland.
  • It does not occupy any land or premises in Scotland or carry out any activities in any office shop, or similar premises in Scotland
  • In referring to itself as a charity it makes reference to being established as a charity under the law of a country other than Scotland.

so Freegle, for instance, should be able to refer to itself as "registered as a charity with HMRC".

Northern Ireland has only just instigated an official body to register charities and is still not operating a register. Previously designated charities are on a 'deemed list', however, so if you have concerns, please email them for advice at

Please remember, though, that community groups and smaller organisations are often not registered charities and are still doing very good things for your community.

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