Pen-y-ffordd Tennis Club committee member Val Stewart has, over the past few weeks, been busily working towards making an application for the club to become a registered charity.
Her investigations have led to a decision taken by the club's management committee as to the type of charitable status to be sought, namely that of a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). This type of charitable status appears to match nicely to our club, and the steps required to be set up in this way don't appear too onerous. There also appears to be no reason why we should be denied this status, and the benefits could be significant over time.
Charitable status could make it easier for the club to obtain future grants, perhaps allowing us to obtain funds to resurface Court 3. But the more immediate benefit is in terms of Gift Aid - for every £100 donated to the club by a UK tax payer, £25 can be claimed back from the government.
Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that we'll be able to claim Gift Aid for membership subscriptions, according to the rules as stated on the government website. There was a thought that it might be possible to do something similar to what the National Trust do - they have a Gift Aid on Entry Scheme, whereby visitors voluntarily pay an entrance fee that's 10% higher than the standard entrance, and the National Trust are then able to claim 25% Gift Aid on the whole amount! If we were able to do this, the new £145 family membership could instead be made £132 standard, with a Gift Aid membership 10% higher at £145 (i.e. only £13 extra) that would would increase through Gift Aid by £36 to £181!
However the government website seems quite clear on this, specifically stating that Gift Aid cannot be claimed on membership payments. If anyone knows how the National Trust (and other organisations, such as the Imperial War Museum) get away with this (and more importantly how we might do the same!) please get in touch.
Even without the ability to claim Gift Aid on membership fees charity status is definitely worth having, so fingers crossed that we will be accepted when Val completes her application.
UPDATE 4/3: There are in fact still some hopes that it may yet be possible to claim Gift Aid on at least some of the club's membership subscription income. We're waiting to hear from a club in the south of England who are a registered charity and apparently have been able to achieve this, so we'll have to see. In the meantime, if any of our members are suitably qualified to help with this, please don't hesitate to get in touch!