The Fermanagh Protestant Orphan Society is a long established charity within Clogher Diocese and was formed in the 1860’s just before the disestablishment of the church in 1869. The main purpose of the Society was to provide for ‘destitute and needy orphans’. Over the years, the Society has made provision (by way of financial grant) for those children who had been orphaned. Orphans continue to receive financial support up until they have finished their education.
During 2015, the Fermanagh Protestant Orphan Society were called forward by the Charity Commission to be a registered as a charity. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, responsible for ensuring Northern Ireland has a dynamic and well governed charities sector in which the public can have confidence. The Commission regulates charities operating in Northern Ireland whose responsibility it is to make sure charities are meeting their legal requirements and to work with charity trustees to put things right if they go wrong. In doing so, the Commission plays a crucial role in the development of charities, enabling them to meet modern expectations and obligations. All registered charities are now listed on the Charity Commission’s website and can be accessed by following the link: www.charitycommissionni.org.uk/
As part of the registration process, the Society had to take into account new legislation such as the need to demonstrate our ability to meet the ‘public benefit’ test. It was also an opportune time to review our governing rules and structures to ensure they were relevant and fit for purpose. There were two main changes made in our registration. One was to change the name of the charity to Clogher Diocese Social Fund, which now clearly reflects the area of benefit for our charity. The second change, was to extend the scope of our grant making to include those who were suffering financial hardship. The charity have been successful in its registration and have been allocated charity number NI 104016.
Shortly, details regarding the constitution and governance arrangements of the charity will be made available on the Clogher Diocese website. The new fund consists of 8 trustees of which 4 are clergy and 4 are lay people. The Bishop of Clogher, The Right Revd. John McDowell is the chairperson and the Hon. Secretary is Mr Michael Skuce. The trustees of the fund would like to make as many of the Diocese aware of the existence of this fund. Applications to the scheme are made in the first instance by the rector of the parish in which the applicant resides or the rural dean during a vacancy.