Legal Services

Funded/Community Legal Services

A local Law Centre can often provide advice to community groups although not necessarily on employer matters (use the Law Centres Federation website to find info). A Council for Voluntary Service (or similar) often has some legal advice service for voluntary groups (see Local contacts page), usually free.

Commercial firms

Your local solicitor can probably deal with most legal matters for the organisation.

Specialist charity lawyers can be helpful on constitutions, contracts, possibly fundraising literature (e.g. legacy promotion or covenant forms), endowment arrangements. Advice on some of these may be available from accountancy firms. If your auditors are any good, they may be a cheaper source. If you want a ‘city’ type firm, the charity specialist is likely to be more cost effective than others.

Known sector experience

The following law firms are known to have specific charity/voluntary sector knowledge.

  • Bates, Wells & Braithwaite Do various training events, including with Directory of Social Change; loads of specialist lawyers, produce regular legal update for clients; have experience in social enterprise too. From Feb. 2015 at 10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE, phone 020 7551 7777.
  • BDB Pitmans (was Bircham Dyson Bell) Charity clients from major national and international charities to smaller, grant-giving charitable trusts, include family charities, learned societies, royal charter companies, heritage trusts, membership organisations, service providers and research institutes.
  • Blake Morgan Offices in south Wales, Oxford, Reading, London, Portsmouth, Southampton.
  • Brabners A north west England law firm with a Charities and Social Enterprise team.  Horton House, Exchange Flags, Liverpool, L2 3YL, phone 0151 600 3341.
  • Burness Paul and WIlliamsons Offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen.
  • Anthony Collins Based in Birmingham, “the largest social housing, charities and community regeneration operations outside London”. 134 Edmund Street, Birmingham, B3 2ES.
  • CharlesRussell Speechlys (Charles Russell merged with Speechly Bircham Nov. 2014) Has various charity specialisms. Offices in London, Cheltenham, Guildford.
  • Farrer & Co Tends to have high-status clients. 66 Lincoln’s Inn Field, London, WC2A 3LH, phone 020 7242 2022, email: enquiries@farrer.co.uk
  • Foot Anstey Offices in Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton and Truro with dedicated charity and social enterprise team acting for organisations ranging from local voluntary groups through to national charities. Contact James Evans, Senate Court, Southernhay Gardens, Exeter EX1 1N, phone 01392 685243, email: james.evans@foot-ansteys.co.uk
  • Geldards has taken over Robinsons, an East Midlands firm with national coverage which claimed to be the leading provider of legal services to independent religious charities.
  • Goodman Derrick 90 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1PT, phone 020 7404 0606.
  • Hempsons Offices in London, Manchester and Harrogate. Email: (city)@hempsons.co.uk
  • Freeths has offices in Oxfordshire – clients include RSPCA, Oxfam, Cancer Research UK and Save the Children.
  • Hewitsons Offices in Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Saffron Walden. Clients include RSPB, local Wildlife Trust. (Head of Charities Team is Mr Chris Knight in Northampton office.)
  • Hunters (incorporating Alexanders).
  • IBB Solicitors, based in Uxbridge. Membership charities is one speciality, out of wider services for charities.
  • Interface Legal Advisory Service is run by a lawyer previously with the much missed Interchange Legal Advisory Service in London. He provides a service designed primarily to help the voluntary sector, and affordable rates.
  • Laytons, in Guildford, London and Manchester.
  • Matthew Boyer A Devon-based practice. “Well over half of my work is for charities or for bodies seeking charitable status. In addition to charity law and corporate governance of charities, I specialise in planning & environmental law and health & safety. I work hard to keep overheads down so that I can offer a highly competitive specialist service to causes that I support”. Phone 01647 432222, email: boyer@matthew-boyer.demon.co.uk
  • Michelmores Offices in London and Exeter. The Charity Team aims to provide responsive and cost-effective advice to voluntary sector organisations and social enterprises. Phone 01392 688688, or Shivaji Shiva on 01392 687542, email: tss@michelmores.com
  • Pearce Legal “have been advising charities of all sizes for over 20 years, from village halls, Scout groups, schools, churches and missionary organisations to national and international organisations.” 2 The Square, Solihull, West Midlands, B91 3SX, phone 08444 127 899.
  • RadcliffesLeBrasseur has a long tradition of providing services for the charity sector. The charity team represents more than 100 charity clients, and “are recognised as a leading firm in the field of charity law”. 5 Great College Street, London, SW1P 3SJ, phone 020 7222 7040, email: michael.elks@rlb-law.com Offices also in Leeds and Cardiff.
  • The Charity Team at Russell-Cooke was previously the firm Sinclair Taylor and Martin, and James Sinclair Taylor remains in charge and is a regular contributor at various sector events. 2 Putney Hill, Putney, London, SW15 6AB, phone 020 8789 9111.
  • Stone King Offices in Bath and London. “Act for many hundreds of voluntary organisations including over 150 of the country’s largest charities”. Charity Services.
  • Thomson Snell and Passmore, offices in Kent and Sussex.
  • Tozers West country firm with offices in Exeter, Plymouth, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot.
  • Turcan Connell has a charity law unit, and a Scottish focus (based in Ediburgh). Princes Exchange, 1 Earl Grey Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9EE, phone 0131 228 8111.
  • Veale Wasbrough Vizards, based in Bristol, and now also London, has a charities team.
  • Withers See charity law as a core area of work, and run a programme of conferences and in-house seminars. 16 Old Bailey, London, EC4M 7EG, phone 020 7597 6000.
  • Wrigleys Solicitors. Particular interest in social economy matters, publishing a quarterly newsletter with Unity Trust Bank. The leading charity lawyers in the North East. 19 Cookridge Street, Leeds, LS2 3AG, phone 0113 244 6100, email: thepartners@wrigleys.co.uk


Also worth a mention

  • Charlie Cattell has many years experience advising on social economy legal structures, and provides comprehensive registration services for companies, charities and community interest companies.
  • EarthRights Solicitors ‘A unique law firm which seeks to protect the environment by working with individuals and groups, ranging from local campaigns to NGOs, and green businesses – where appropriate for free or at low cost’. Email: earthrights@gn.apc.org or Devon office: charlie@earthrights.org.uk

Insurance Services

Despite a growth in specialist sector services in insurance, it must be said that the voluntary sector is wide with very diverse needs. An insurance broker who knows a lot about one aspect, for example large scale residential care, won’t necessarily understand the requirements of a small advice agency. So ask to see their client list, and check out what similar organisations have insurance for, as well as recommended brokers or insurance companies. It is worth checking out whether an appropriate umbrella or support body has arranged specialist insurance cover for an activity area – only a few are noted below.

Specialist Brokers

In theory brokers can access the whole insurance market to find the best cover (which may be from combining a number of separate policies). In practice the special deals for non-profits are more likely to come from one particular insurer – check!

  • Access Insurance A professional broking service working solely for the non profit sector. Quotations can be obtained online for small and medium-size charities. Selsdon House, 212-220 Addington Road, South Croydon, Surrey, CR2 8LD, phone 020 8651 7420.
  • Aon has stopped providing new charity tailored insurances as of September 2017.
  • Congregational Insurance Mainly for places of worship. Currer House, Curret Street, Bradford, BD1 5BA, phone 01274 700700.
  • Ecclesiastical Insurance Group As the name implies, closely connected with the church, and is indeed owned by a charitable trust, Allchurches Trust. Also deals with schools, care homes and other charities. ‘The Beaufort Plan is a comprehensive policy for all charities and voluntary organisations.’ Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, Glos, GL1 1JZ, phone 01452 528533, email: charities@eigmail.com
  • Encompass Insurance Policy. Designed by LVSC (London Voluntary Service Council) in partnership with Keegan and Pennykid (Insurance Brokers), this is a Royal & SunAlliance scheme, but with plenty of scope. Available to all voluntary organisations, small or large, premiums starting from £50. Contact Keegan and Pennykid, 50 Queen St, Edinburgh, EH2 3NS, phone 0800 731 8030.
  • Endsleigh Insurance Brokers, connected with the students insurer, has Charities as a specialist area and do competitive quotes in this sector, having all sizes from large national charities to home-based organisations as customers all over the UK. Phone 01242 866800.
  • D E Ford Insurance Brokers Ltd, a York based insurance brokerage that has specialised in cover for charities and non profit organisations for over 30 years.
  • Insurex Exposure, now part of Hiscox, specialises in event, conference and exhibition insurance.
  • Ladbrook ‘understand how voluntary organisations operate and we understand their insurance needs. We have negotiated exclusive deals with a number of insurance companies specifically for voluntary organisations … donate a percentage of our earnings to charity and we promote and encourage ethical investment within our pensions and investment advice.’ Chartered Insurance Practitioner, specialist insurances include community groups, office cover.
    Unit 17, Dinnington Business Centre, Outgang Lane, Dinnington, Sheffield S25 3QX, phone 01909 565858, email: info@ladbrook.co.uk
  • Marsh Commercial (previously Jelf/Bluefin).
  • NC Insurance has a ThirdSectorProtect option.
  • PIB brokers appears to be the firm now providing what was CaSE (Charity and Social Enterprise) insurance up in 2007 by a partnership between Charities Aid Foundation, Bates Wells and Braithwaite solicitors and ABG Insurance Services/aQmen Ltd.
  • Towergate is a specialist broker to medical and caring professionals, and at 2011 insured over 50% of independently owned hospices in the UK, as well as other charities.
  • Unity Insurance Services is owned by the Scout Association and have over 80 years experience in providing them with insurance. Specialists in youth and voluntary sector insurance. Phone 0845 0945 702, email: info@unityinsuranceservices.co.uk
  • WRS Insurance Brokers Based in Colchester, has specialist policies for charities etc including minibus.


Specialist Policies

  • Ansvar Insurance Ansvar House, St Leonards Road, Eastbourne, E Sussex, BN21 3UR, phone 01323 737541. Various specific insurance policies designed for the sector such as Community Groups (for groups using church or community premises), Charity Shops, Minibuses, Small Charity Offices and various Church related. Also Events insurance policy. Not quite so strong on the ‘standard’ company stuff.
  • Directors and Officers (a brand name of Royal and Sun Alliance). Charity and trustee indemnity. Stane Court, Albion Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1FB, phone 01403 235047.
  • Markel UK has speciality insurance products for areas such as Social Welfare, Charities and Community.
  • NODA Insurance provides a combined policy for amateur theatre groups.
  • Pound Gates specialises in childcare and early years insurance.
  • VillageGuard from Allied Westminster is for village halls.
  • Village Halls Plus Group is from three rural community councils working together with Zurich Municipal to offer a range of insurance to village halls across the UK, including cover for special events, loss of revenue and material damage.
  • Norris & Fisher insurance brokers have a tailored policy for village halls and community buildings, too. Plus general charity insurance.
  • Zurich has long provided insurance policies for community organisations. See their charity web pages.

Also See

  • Lockton did offer International Vehicle Risk Management for international motor vehicle cover, designed to meet the need of international charities/humanitarian organisations. Not spotted on their redesigned website (2013), but may be hiding.
  • Burnett & Associates, now part of SPB, have been recommended as computer maintenance specialist brokers.

Banking, Investment, Pensions

What to look for

While there is (currently) no high street name which majors in voluntary sector banking, there are some ‘deposit takers’ which do. Some of the ‘second rung’ bankers have specialist charity staff actually dealing with banking matters, rather than just marketing.

Many members and even trustees of voluntary organisations make sweeping assumptions on the terms you can get for banking. While the smaller community group or charity may well be able to get ‘free’ banking, this is by no means automatic. ‘Free’ may mean you also don’t get much interest paid on any spare cash you may have on deposit – if this happens often you may be better off paying (low) charges and getting proper interest rates. Charging structures have got more flexible recently, and may be based on a fixed fee, cost per transaction or sometimes a mixture. It is worth assessing what types of transaction you process most (e.g. volume of small cheque receipts as opposed to large direct credits such as grants) as this can make a large impact on which bank is the best for you.

Branches nowadays often don’t talk with ‘small business’ customers direct, but refer them to regional managers. Don’t expect these people, even with their narrower focus, to have any understanding of voluntary sector needs. We frequently have ‘oddities’ to deal with – some one-off foreign exchange visit or sudden need for loads of cash for an event – and developing a relationship and educating your manager can pay dividends in smoothing out the problems.

Deposit takers aren’t full banks – no or limited cheque facilities – but can help you maximise the return on spare cash, if you have the time and ability to manage transfers (to ensure your bank cash-flow doesn’t get you into trouble).

Current Account providers

  • Barclays Bank Charities Team concentrated on large organisations like NSPCC to start with, but presumably have now spread outwards.
  • Bank of Scotland Treasurers account for non-profit making organisations with a turnover below £50,000.
  • CAF Bank, part of a charity itself, offers high interest current accounts and easy access deposit accounts, CAF Cash and CAF Gold. Higher interest rates than standard on minimum deposits of £1,000, accounts operated by phone, post and online. Also operate longer term investment options such as the CAF Equity Growth Fund. Phone 0870 264 3296.
  • Cater Allen Bank Part of Santander, has a range of accounts for clubs, associations, charities.
  • Co-op Bank has the Community directplus account for community organisations, charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. See their Community Banking pages. Their ethical policy may well be attractive alongside no charges for standard banking facilities plus post, phone and internet access. Charities Tam phone 020 7977 2121.
  • NatWest Search for Community Account (under Business) for the smaller voluntary group – free banking for turnover below £100,000 a year.
  • Royal Bank of Scotland Treasurers Account for clubs, societies, churches and charities. Contact Tom Lynch, 28 Cavendish Square, London, W1M 0DB, phone 020 7647 8726 or 8713.
  • Santander Corporate Banking – look under Specialist Sectors.
  • Triodos Bank Known for their ethical stance, they also have Charity Cheque and Reserve Accounts, and a Social Venture Current Account. Phone 0800 328 2181, email: mail@triodos.co.uk
  • Unity Trust A specialist bank for voluntary, membership and credit union organisations, as well as the trade unions involved in setting it up, with the help of Co-op Bank. Did have a ‘Rent to Buy’ scheme enabling charity and voluntary organisations to acquire their premises – may have ended. It also sponsors various charity finance and management courses and events. Nine Brindley Place, 4 Oozells Square, Birmingham, B1 2HB, phone 0845 140 1000.

Facilities

Direct Debit and Direct Credit (paying suppliers electronically) facilities are offered by most banks, but organisations need good accounting systems and adequate financial controls to be able to sign up. Check out BACS website for some basic info (the jointly owned automated clearing system house).

Deposit takers

  • CCLA Investment Management Have a COIF Deposit Account offering instant access but high interest rates, amongst other options for charities. In our experience the service is straightforward and reliable. CCLA, 80 Cheapside, London, EC2V 6DZ, phone 020 7489 6010.
  • Epworth Investment Management is a specialist charity fund manager who offers a range of charity funds including the high interest, instant access Affirmative Deposit Fund for Charities. 9 Bonhill Street, London, EC2A 4PE, phone 020 7496 3636.


Investment services, financial advisers

See any charity sector publication for adverts from a variety of players.

Sarasin & Partners LLP Their Compendium of Investment is designed to help trustees plan and implement their investment policy in conjunction with their investment manager.

Check our Ethical investment page too.

Pension Schemes

targeted at voluntary sector:

  • The Pensions Trust is the only pension provider working exclusively with the voluntary sector. There is a specific scheme they manage for NICVA/northern Ireland charities, for instance. Email: enquiries@thepensionstrust.org.uk. Verity House, 6 Canal Wharf, Leeds, LS11 5BQ, phone 0113 234 5500.

Design, Print, Writing Services

Transcription, translation, training, editorial and other (print) production help.

Advice, Training

Some of the service providers below have useful guides to producing printed or visual materials. Other sources of useful info:

Translation and Transcription

  • BSS (charity Broadcasting Support Services) has closed, 2015: it made a point of being able to provide multilingual helplines, translation and publishing services alongside their other facilities.
  • Kelpie Films (see media services) also provide audio solutions such as talking magazines, talking books with favourable rates for the voluntary sector.
  • SignVideo (was Signific’ant) provides sign language interpreting in minutes over videophone, BSL translation and recording. Plus other related services – a social enterprise.
  • WorldAccent provides translation services in the world’s languages, in addition to website localisation and multilingual typesetting & design advice. Clients include NSPCC, Amnesty International, Mencap. Phone 020 7865 8300.

Publishing Services

including copywriting, editorial and content, print buying.

  • See BSS listed above.
  • Everything Editorial specialises in copywriting, editorial, design and print buying. The co-directors have strong experience, online and in print, producing publications for the voluntary, corporate and public sectors. Phone 020 8806 9893, email: nicola@everythingeditorial.co.uk
  • Lark is a ‘content agency’, with copywriters, editors and content strategists, and a charity specialism.
  • Looseleaf Productions Copywriting, editing, books and reports, editorial consultancy etc. Phone 01892 863952.
  • ProseWorks is a network of copywriters and editors. Phone 01788 562316.
  • The Fable bureau (was Matter and Co) (was Society Media) Editorial, editing etc.
  • Eleanor Stanley specialises in editorial services for voluntary sector organisations, with clients including the King’s Fund, Friends of the Earth, Red Cross.
  • Top Copy/Guy Phillips Freelance copywriting service mainly for housing associations, charities etc.

Also see under Communications/ PR on Media Services page.

Designers

Many of these will also be able to do (at least) basic web site design.

  • Core Design Profits from the design side are used to support an associated mental health charity. Email: coredesign@corearts.co.uk
  • Ecographic “Visual communication says everything.” Graphic design and production with minimum ecological impact through detailed research into materials and new technology. Email: clare@ecographic.co.uk
  • Ethical Graphic Design Company discounts to charities etc. Email: simon@ethicalgraphicdesign.co.uk
  • HighHorse “Visual Communications for not-for-profit organisations”. We weren’t impressed by their website’s accessibility, though.
  • Intertype works exclusively with the voluntary sector on design and print: newsletters, stationery, annual and research reports, corporate identities, etc. Produce a Charity Design Bulletin. 307 Aberdeen House, 22 Highbury Grove, London, N5 2EA, phone 020 7359 4115, email: copydesk@intertype.co.uk
  • origin8 creative Work for voluntary sector includes fundraising pack for breakthrough breast cancer.
  • Oyster Marketing and Design Print, web, marketing, etc. Based in Hampshire.
  • Premonition provides graphic design, for print and web, mainly to voluntary organisations and other non-commercial bodies in East London.
  • Wave A workers design co-operative which specialises in working for issue, community, education, government, arts, health and charitable organisations, on websites through to event invitations. “We are down to earth in our approach, have never missed a deadline and are used to working creatively within limited budgets”. 45 Robertson Street, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1HL, phone 01424 205355, email: info@wave.coop


Printers

  • Battley Brothers/Arc Design. ‘Design, print and multi-media’, specialists in the voluntary/non-profit sector. 37 Old Town, Clapham, London, SW4 0JN, phone 020 7622 3401.
  • Calverts Press A workers co-op set up in 1977, has variety of charity and community group clients as well as commercial, and an interest in environmental considerations in its work. Web site has a useful glossary of terms. 9-10 The Oval, London, E2 9DT, phone 020 7739 1474.
  • Landor Graphics. South London design, copywriting and publishing company specialising in services to housing associations and voluntary sector. From copywriting/sub-editing based on your ideas or rough copy, through to design/lay-up, photography and print management. Produces publicity leaflets, letterheads, logos, newsletters, annual reports, information packs, posters, display boards, surveys etc. Can handle small print runs. Phone 020 7771 8716, email: landorgraph@gn.apc.org
  • Lavenham Press A high-quality image, but also a comprehensive service. 47 Water Street, Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 9RN, phone 01787 247436.
  • Lithosphere A long time ago, this was the Print Department of War on Want – still committed to voluntary sector campaigning, in particular environmental issues. They are print managers and troubleshooters, and know their stuff. 90 Queensland Road, London, N7 7AS, phone 020 7686 6111, email: info@lithosphere.co.uk
  • Pureprint Group has worked with a range of charities and campaign groups, and boasts of its environmental credentials. Bellbrook Park, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 1PL, phone 01825 768811.
  • Rap Spiderweb ‘One of the country’s leading providers of print, design and distribution services to voluntary and campaigning organisations.’ Produce useful PrintTalk newsletters aimed at the voluntary sector on print issues. Clock Street, Oldham, OL9 7LY, phone 0161 947 3700, email: enquiries@rapspiderweb.com
  • Upstream Workers’ cooperative which specialises in supplying typeset, design and print to the voluntary sector. 1 Warwick Court, Choumert Road, London, SE15 4SE, phone 020 7207 1560, email: cooperative@upstream.coop

Media Services

Photography, Video, AV, Media Support, Training

Advice, Training

Some of the service providers below have useful guides to producing printed or visual materials. Other sources of useful info:

Media Training. This can range from ‘dealing with the press’ to using video equipment. See Media Trust entry under Media Support below. They also manage Media Resource Scotland with SCVO – details on SCVO’s web site.

David Thomas Media is a small business specialising in media skills and communications skills training, with a specific slant towards NGOs. Phone 020 7096 1995, email: vol@davidthomasmedia.com

Photography

  • Rebecca Marshall freelance photographer specialising in photography for public relations purposes of voluntary organisations.

There are various photo libraries around, if you are looking for a particular picture.

Video, film, broadcast, podcast

  • Magnificent TV Have produced training and promotional films for a range of charities.
  • Minamon Film/Video/DVD production company. Client list includes Sense, MIND, Age Concern England, Groundwork.
  • Podcats produce RSPB Bird Notes audio podcasts.
  • Podnosh can produce audio or video podcasts, and is working with the Birmingham Community Empowerment Network on the Grassroots Channel. Run by a professional with many years experience as a BBC documentary maker, film production is also available.
  • Small World ‘The ethical television production company – Small World works through the media to help bring about social change.’ Small World Productions Ltd, 1B Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ, phone 020 7272 1394, email: JJones@smallworldtv.co.uk
  • Trilby Multimedia Production of educational CD-ROMs, websites, databases, videos, exhibitions and printed material.
  • Worthwhile TV charity video producers.


Audio-Visual Supply

  • Barracuda organise all technical aspects of live events, such as conferences and awards ceremonies, within the UK and worldwide. Phone 0845 1284046. Have worked with Make A Wish Charity Ball, Youthnet.

Media Support, Communication /Advertising /PR Agencies

Many mailing houses also do telephone response services, and can handle enquiries resulting from a media campaign or promotion.

  • bluefrog Specialists in reaching young adults on behalf of charities, through direct marketing and advertising, with clients such as RNLI, Mind, Prostate Cancer Charity, National Trust. 2-4 Rufus St, London, N1 6PE, phone 020 7613 6360, email: things@bluefroglondon.com
  • The Communications Hub is “a consultancy and agency, providing everything you need to plan and run effective communications and marketing”, includes charities experience.
  • Connect Assist “runs professional helplines and web systems for charities and organisations that help people to make positive life changes that last”.
  • Face PR Editorial, copywriting, publications and communications planning consultancy, based in the Scottish Borders, which specialises in supporting third sector organisations. Also a Community Interest Company.
  • The Media Trust has established various initiatives around the use of television and video. These include the Voluntary Matters series of programmes on voluntary organisation issues and developing the concept of the Community Channel (on Sky Digital/FreeView). Their Communications Advice team runs seminars, workshops, surgeries and one to one matching.
  • Pelham Communications has various charity experience but a distinct arts leaning.
  • Third Sector PR Phone 020 7222 5510, email: info@thirdsectorpr.co.uk

Theatre

  • Previous entry has disappeared – there must be some worth listing?

Event Services

Professional organisers of conferences, outdoor events etc. Venues, Online services.

Conference and events organisers

  • Event Management Systems Third off for charities, according to a scribbled note!
  • Green & Away ‘organisers of environmentally sound conference and events’. PO Box 40, Malvern, WR14 1YS, phone 0870 460 1198.

Outdoor events and activity organisers

  • Across the Divide organise charity challenge events all over the world including the UK. Phone 01460 30456.
  • Charity Challenge Run expeditions themselves (similar to Classic Tours) which charities can benefit from, but may be a source of ideas too.
  • Classic Challenge (was Classic Tours) Originators of worldwide charity challenges (treks, cycling) since 1992.
  • Skyline Professional events organisers of adventurous fundraising events, UK and worldwide.

Venues

Some of the voluntary organisations under Local Contacts, particularly in the larger urban areas, have their own spaces for hire, or info on other facilities. Many universities are set up to provide conference facilities, often making use of student accommodation out of term time – too many to list here, so do a web search on ‘university conference facilities’ or similar.

  • Carronvale House, the Boys’ Brigade Scottish Headquarters, is also a conference, training and activity centre. Residential accommodation and sports facilities too. In Larbert, Stirlingshire, between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • Bore Place (was Commonwork Centre) Kent Residential/non-residential conference centre run by an educational charity with an environment programme. Commonwork Land Trust, Bore Place, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 7AR, phone 01732 463255.
  • Hillscourt In the attractive Lickey Hills on the south western edge of Birmingham, owned and operated by teachers union NASUWT. Hillscourt Conference Centre, Rose Hill, Rednal, Birmingham, B45 8RS, phone 0121 457 8370, email: conference.centre@mail.nasuwt.org.uk
  • Hothorpe Hall, Theddingworth, Leicestershire. 85% of groups booking are from Charities, Churches, Local Authorities or National Health, and they aim to provide value for money but quality facilities. Theddingworth, Leics, LE17 6QX, phone 01858 881500, email: office@Hothorpe.co.uk
  • King’s Park Conference Centre is a Christian-run venue in Northampton, catering for groups of up to 150 for residential and day conferences.
  • Knuston Hall Northants Residential conference and training facilities in a 17th century manor house in 40 acres, used by the likes of Oxfam, Help the Aged, Victim Support. Knuston Hall, Irchester, Wellingborough, Northants, NN29 7EU, phone 01933 312104, email: enquiries@knustonhall.co.uk
  • Quaker Meeting House, Cardiff. Three rooms, from small to large, available at competitive rates for community groups.
  • Tenants Hall, Middleton, Leeds.

London

  • Avonmouth House (part of etc venues) Used by various charities and housing bodies. 6 Avonmouth Street, London, SE1 6NX, phone 020 7378 1547, email: avonmouth@etclimited.co.uk
  • Coin Street Conference Centre in the heart of Waterloo.
  • The Gestalt Centre Conference, Training, Meeting and Coaching Rooms from £20 per hour, 10% discount for registered charities. Near Old Street tube station.
  • King’s Fund, which provides resources for the health and social care sector, has a venue which hosts small meetings and seminars to formal conferences and presentations, in central London.
  • London Youth Five minutes from Old Street tube, flexible meeting space on the ground floor and fully wheelchair accessible. Projector, WiFi connection, Dedicated phone line available. Phone 020 7549 8810.
  • Mary Ward House Conference and exhibition centre with 15 different sized rooms for meetings etc. Willing to consider special rates for voluntary and community organisations, are now linked to the Simon Community. 5-7 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SN, phone 020 7387 9681.
  • One Park Crescent conference centre.
  • Resource for London.
  • Royal Horticultural Halls Big stuff, but connected with a charity (RHS). 80 Vincent Sq, London, SW1P 2PE, phone 020 7828 4125.
  • The Wesley Hotel (was Methodist International) in Euston area.
  • Westminster Central Hall Has smaller rooms as well as large ones, suitable for a variety of events, meetings. Costs vary month by month. Storey’s Gate, Westminster, SW1H 9NH, phone 020 7222 8010, email: enquiries@c-h-w.co.uk
  • ORT House Conference Centre. Connected with Pavilion Publishing (who produce health/social care training materials, and also organise events in this area). Discounts for charities. 126 Albert Street, Camden, NW1 7NE.


Venue finders, agencies, directories

Venue finder services usually operate by charging a commission to the venue on any bookings handled, even when they advertise as providing a free service.

General, commercial

  • Conference Consultancy Provides a venue finding and booking service.
  • Focus Venue Finders Has worked with Barnardo’s, Oxfam, Cancer Research UK.
  • Venues UK venues directory.
  • Venuefinder.com A service from Conference Blue & Green, there is an A to Z index and regional search facility, info on special offers.
  • Evcom, the body for event and visual communications professional, has a members list.

Specialist, voluntary sector

  • My Community Space, website run by Community Matters for promoting booking of community centres etc.
  • CCI Association of Christian centres provides venue finding service to Christian based organisations.
  • RentaHostel It is possible to rent some Youth Hostels for exclusive use – now only in  Scotland?

Online events services and tools

Booking, ticketing, events management etc.