Recreational Charities Act 1958

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Recreational Charities Act 1958
Long title An Act to declare charitable under the law of England and Wales the provision in the interests of social welfare of facilities for recreation or other leisure-time occupation, to make similar provision as to certain trusts heretofore established for carrying out social welfare activities within the meaning of the Miners’ Welfare Act 1952, to enable laws for corresponding purposes to be passed by the Parliament of Northern Ireland, and for purposes connected therewith.
Citation c.17
Territorial extent England and Wales, Northern Ireland
Royal assent 13 March 1958
Other legislation
Amended by Charities Act 2006
Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Recreational Charities Act 1958 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

The Recreational Charities Act 1958 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was repealed in its entirety by the Charities Act 2011.[1]

The 1958 Act recognised the place of "recreational facilities" within English law on charitable trusts. In trusts law, there are requirements that such trusts contain both a charitable purpose and public benefit.[2]

Charitable trusts are invalid if they include "purely recreational pastimes", as in IRC v City of Glasgow Police Athletic Association;[3] even though the purpose of the charity was to improve the efficiency of the police force, the fact that this included a recreational element invalidated the trust. In response to this case and IRC v Baddely,[4] the Recreational Charities Act was passed.[5]

The Act provides, in Section 1, that "it shall be and be deemed always to have been charitable to provide, or assist in the provision of, facilities for recreation or other leisure-time occupation, if the facilities are provided in the interests of social welfare". This preserves the requirement of public benefit, with acceptable "social welfare" interests being where the facilities are dedicated to "improving the conditions of life" of the young, old, physically handicapped, poor or people with extenuating "social or economic circumstances".[6] Section 1(3) provides the facilities at women's centres, community centres and sports grounds as particular examples of ones advancing "social welfare". In Section 2 the Act specifically covers trusts set up under the Miners’ Welfare Act 1952 before 17 December 1957, when the Act received its first reading in the House of Lords. Section 3 of the Act notes that the provisions do not validate, invalidate or disturb any charities established before 17 December, while Sections 4 and 5 note that the Act applies to both Northern Ireland and the Crown.[7]

Section 2, dealing with trusts established under the Miners' Welfare Act, was repealed by the Charities Act 2006,[8] while Section 4 was repealed by the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.[9] The Act was subject to judicial interpretation in Guild v IRC, where it was decided that recreational charities could be for public benefit if they impacted on the public in general, not just the categories of people listed in Section 1; Lord Keith stated "the fact is that persons from all walks of life and all kinds of social circumstances may have their conditions of life improved by the provision of recreational facilities of a suitable nature".[10]


  1. ^ SCHEDULE 10 Charities Act 2011
  2. ^ Edwards (2007) p.211
  3. ^ [1953] 1 All ER 747
  4. ^ [1955] A.C. 572
  5. ^ Edwards (2007) p.223
  6. ^ Price (1958) p.535
  7. ^ Price (1958) p.536
  8. ^ "Lexis@Library: Document (subscription needed)". LexisNexis. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Lexis@Library: Document (subscription needed)". LexisNexis. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Edwards (2007) p.224


  • Edwards, Richard; Nigel Stockwell (2007). Trusts and Equity (8th ed.). Pearson Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-4684-4. 
  • Price, Leolin (1958). "Recreational Charities Act, 1958". Modern Law Review. Blackwell Publishing. 21 (5). ISSN 0026-7961.