Quaker A-Z: E is for Equality

2015 04 22 Equals

This is part of the Quaker Alphabet Project – click here for more information.

E is for Equality

Equality is a key aspect of Quaker beliefs and testimonies. Some readers may remember that E was for Equality last time – then I talked about ensuring there was equal access for all users of the building. In the Friend (April 23rd) there was an article, ‘How do we Grow Acceptance?‘ which tackled similar issues.

This time I’m going to explore the ways that we an ensure there is equal charges and usage of the building.

When I am asked about discounts or using the building for free, I reply pointing out, ‘We are a registered charity and the Charity Commission does not allow us to give discounts to other groups or charities unless it is in our direct interests’. There is a useful set of guidelines at https://www.gov.uk/work-with-other-charities I have sent hirers there and quoted the below:

The trustees must properly consider and be satisfied that:

  • it will be an effective way of using your charity’s resources to further its charitable purposes
  • it will be in your charity’s best interests
  • your charity’s governing document doesn’t prevent you from doing it
  • you have identified and can deal with any risks that the proposal presents

In a previous post ‘Quakerly Business‘ I’ve also mentioned ways that we can work with other charities to raise awareness on issues we have in common or to put on an event or fund raise together.

This is different to ensuring that there is a policy document regarding room hiring that says that for local community groups and charities we give a discount of xxx% or similar.

  • Do you have a reduced rate for charities and community groups?
  • Of course there will always be charities that are much better off than others – do you take that into consideration?
  • If so, do you have written guidelines to ensure this is applied equally?
  • Do you expect the person taking the booking and creating the invoice to decide on the discount, taking each case on its merits?

Not all charities are necessarily be aligned with Quaker values and principles, what would happen if someone requested the charitable rate who was a registered charity and isn’t? Or if you agree a discount because of friendly relations – and the contact person changes? Such arbitrary decisions aren’t as clear cut as a policy document.

How do you deal with this issue in your meeting?


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