Faith-based charities

Faith-based charities form a significant part of the charitable sector. The beneficiaries of these charities can be counted in their millions, and they make a huge contribution to communities across England and Wales.

This section introduces our guidance and other resources for faith-based charities.

Faith in Good Governance

Our core guidance for charities established with a religious purpose whose main focus is religious worship and related activities. As well as tailored guidance, it contains a number of good practice case studies. It incorporates helpful feedback the Faith and Social Cohesion Unit has received from several faith-based charities

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Registering as a faith-based charity

For a summary of information on registering as charity, and to learn how to take advantage of the benefits that registering as a charity can bring, read the following information leaflet which provides tailored advice for faith-based organisations:

An overall summary of the this work can be found in the publication Working with Faith Groups: The Charity Commission Faith Groups Programme 2004-07 .

Our guidance on registering a charity explains what you need to do to apply to register online.

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Listening to faith-based charities

Following our successful consultation with independent and black majority churches, the Commission ran a series of workshops with a whole range of faith-based charities in 2004-07, to learn more about the way they work and to help strengthen their governance and effectiveness.

We held a total of 15 events and met with over 800 representatives of faith-based organisations. These included representatives from the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindi and Buddhist communities, as well as delegates from the UK’s smaller faiths such as Baha’i and Zoroastrian.

The events were hugely successful and have given the Commission a valuable insight into the main issues, concerns and tensions faced by these charities, and a clearer understanding of the benefits they bring to the communities in which they work. Summaries of the feedback from the events held with Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu charities are available below in PDF format.

An overall summary of the this work can be found in the publication Working with Faith Groups: The Charity Commission Faith Groups Programme 2004-07 .

Feedback from:

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Faith in Focus

Issue 2 of our newsletter Faith in Focus has now been published. You can view it and the previous issue using the following links.

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Detailed survey of mosques

The Faith and Social Cohesion Unit of the Charity Commission has published the first detailed survey of mosques in England and Wales. The survey is an independent piece of research by BMG Research and provides useful insights into mosques and their activities, and identifies areas for further research and exploration.

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About the Faith and Social Cohesion Unit

Building on this project, the Commission has set up a dedicated Unit to work with and support faith-based charities. The Faith and Social Cohesion Unit will provide support and advice to faith-based groups through outreach work, capacity building training and guidance. It aims to:

  • engage with faith communities to identify and support organisations that could be but are not currently registered with the Commission;
  • assist faith-based charities to improve their standards of governance and accountability and thereby increase their effectiveness;
  • work collaboratively to achieve and promote well run and effectively regulated faith-based charities; and
  • improve the Commission’s and society’s understanding of faith-based charities.

The Unit is initially working primarily with Muslim charities and communities in four main regions; Greater London, the Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and Humberside. Launch events were held in London, the Midlands and the North West during 2008 and in Yorkshire and the Humber in May 2009.

A Project Board including representatives of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) has been established to direct the Unit’s work and to provide specialist advice. More information about MINAB can be found on their website:

The unit is headed by Ghulam Rasool. With extensive experience of working with faith communities at the grass roots, Ghulam has been actively involved in interfaith initiatives, religious education, and has been at the forefront of capacity building within faith organisations and upskilling of religious leaders. Ghulam has also worked on innovative projects with young people to promote tolerance and understanding between different faith and ethnic groups.

For a summary of why the Charity Commission decided to establish the FSCU and the aims and work of the Unit, please read the following leaflet for an short introduction.

For any other information contact the team at the Faith and Social Cohesion Unit:

Telephone: 020 7674 2442
Fax: 020 7674 2300

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