Top charities in England and Wales registered with Charity Commission for England and Wales

United Kingdom

 Update: January 2022

Charity Law

Charities are a force for good and millions regularly donate to help them help others. There are around 167,000 charities in England and Wales registered with the Charity Commission, the regulator, as well as thousands of unregistered charities. Registered charities alone have a combined annual income of over £74 billion.[Law Commission]

The Charity Commission

The Commission is the registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales. The Commission is a non-ministerial government department and part of the Civil Service. The Commission is, by law, independent from ministerial influence or control over its day-to-day operations and decision-making. The Charities Act 2011 (‘the Act’) section 13 (4), states that: ‘In the exercise of its functions, the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any Minister of the Crown or other government department.’ As a public body, the Commission is committed to governance excellence and to being accountable and transparent for its decisions and activities.

Descriptions of Charitable Purposes under Sec 3 of The Charities Act 2011

(1)A purpose falls within this subsection if it falls within any of the following descriptions of purposes—

(a)the prevention or relief of poverty;
(b)the advancement of education;
(c)the advancement of religion;
(d)the advancement of health or the saving of lives;
(e)the advancement of citizenship or community development;
(f)the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science;
(g)the advancement of amateur sport;
(h)the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity;
(i)the advancement of environmental protection or improvement;
(j)the relief of those in need because of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage;
(k)the advancement of animal welfare;
(l)the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown or of the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services;
(m)any other purposes—
(i)that are not within paragraphs (a) to (l) but are recognised as charitable purposes by virtue of section 5 (recreational and similar trusts, etc.) or under the old law,
(ii)that may reasonably be regarded as analogous to, or within the spirit of, any purposes falling within any of paragraphs (a) to (l) or sub-paragraph (i), or
(iii)that may reasonably be regarded as analogous to, or within the spirit of, any purposes which have been recognised, under the law relating to charities in England and Wales, as falling within sub-paragraph (ii) or this sub-paragraph.

(2)In subsection (1)—

(a)in paragraph (c), “religion” includes—
(i)a religion which involves belief in more than one god, and
(ii)a religion which does not involve belief in a god,
(b)in paragraph (d), “the advancement of health” includes the prevention or relief of sickness, disease or human suffering,
(c)paragraph (e) includes—
(i)rural or urban regeneration, and
(ii)the promotion of civic responsibility, volunteering, the voluntary sector or the effectiveness or efficiency of charities,
(d)in paragraph (g), “sport” means sports or games which promote health by involving physical or mental skill or exertion,
(e)paragraph (j) includes relief given by the provision of accommodation or care to the persons mentioned in that paragraph, and
(f)in paragraph (l), “fire and rescue services” means services provided by fire and rescue authorities under Part 2 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004.

(3)Where any of the terms used in any of paragraphs (a) to (l) of subsection (1), or in subsection (2), has a particular meaning under the law relating to charities in England and Wales, the term is to be taken as having the same meaning where it appears in that provision.

(4)In subsection (1)(m)(i), “the old law” means the law relating to charities in England and Wales as in force immediately before 1 April 2008.

Registered charities in England and Wales

By Income

Charity name Income
THE ARTS COUNCIL OF ENGLAND £1,488,655,343
LLOYD’S REGISTER FOUNDATION £1,290,104,000
THE BRITISH COUNCIL £1,288,716,795
INTERNATIONAL FINANCE FACILITY FOR IMMUNISATION COMPANY £1,059,428,626
THE CHARITIES AID FOUNDATION £1,008,480,000
SAVE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL £876,468,492
NUFFIELD HEALTH £779,900,000
CANCER RESEARCH UK £656,107,415
CARDIFF UNIVERSITY £568,812,000
UNITED CHURCH SCHOOLS FOUNDATION LTD £553,383,000

By Volunteers

Charity nameVolunteers
PARKRUN GLOBAL LIMITED279710
KEEP BRITAIN TIDY196260
THE SCOUT ASSOCIATION156762
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NETWORK100000
THE GUIDE ASSOCIATION SOUTH-WEST ENGLAND100000
THE GUIDE ASSOCIATION80000
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS (GREAT BRITAIN)61000
EDUCATION & EMPLOYERS TASKFORCE56642
THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION55000
THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR PLACES OF HISTORIC INTEREST OR NATURAL BEAUTY50000

By Investment

Charity nameInvestments
WELLCOME TRUST£32,712,467,776
GARFIELD WESTON FOUNDATION£9,767,172,000
CHURCH COMMISSIONERS FOR ENGLAND£8,027,136,985
THE CHILDREN’S INVESTMENT FUND FOUNDATION (UK)£4,354,352,181
THE LEVERHULME TRUST£3,841,392,000
BRIDGE HOUSE ESTATES£1,686,940,654
TRINITY COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE£1,668,295,000
THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR PLACES OF HISTORIC INTEREST OR NATURAL BEAUTY£1,473,798,000
BLACKROCK CHARITIES FUNDS£1,402,428,027
MOTABILITY£1,367,973,000

Charitable Activities

Charity nameExpenditure charitable activities
THE ARTS COUNCIL OF ENGLAND£1,419,616,010
THE BRITISH COUNCIL£1,282,076,569
WELLCOME TRUST£1,018,645,985
NUFFIELD HEALTH£869,600,000
SAVE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL£860,273,358
THE CHARITIES AID FOUNDATION£857,314,000
CANCER RESEARCH UK£510,601,922
CARDIFF UNIVERSITY£465,661,000
UNITED CHURCH SCHOOLS FOUNDATION LTD£458,315,000
THE NATIONAL TRUST FOR PLACES OF HISTORIC INTEREST OR NATURAL BEAUTY£456,953,000

SOURCE: The Charity Commission


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