Category: Charity

Record-Breaker Lauren Smith


Sheffield and Doncaster law firm Taylor Bracewell has raised a record-breaking sum for charity through the annual Will Aid scheme.

Lauren Smith, Head of Wills, Probate & Trusts at the firm single-handedly raised £26,365 last year whilst being seven months pregnant with her first child, Greyson. This total tops the most raised in a single Will Aid month, which asks lawyers to write Wills for local people in exchange for a donation.

Their great achievement places them top of the fundraisers for Will Aid 2016 and in the top 20 fundraisers of all time.

Lauren Smith, Head of Wills, Probate & Trusts at the firm, said: “I was determined to do as much as I could to be the number one fundraising firm for 2016. After coming second last year, I had the bit between my teeth and went over and above to achieve this.

“I am so proud that the hard work has paid off and the nine great charities as well as will writers who have now secured their future will benefit.

“As a mother, I cannot stress the importance of writing a will to ensure that you are protecting what happens to your children if the worst should happen. I hope this story might inspire other solicitors to join the scheme as well as encourage parents to sign up and get their will created through Will Aid in 2017.”

John Coulthurst from the British Red Cross paid the firm a visit today to present them with a certificate to thank them for their achievement.
John said: “We are very grateful to Taylor Bracewell and the Will Aid scheme for this generous contribution.
“The Red Cross uses donations to reach people in crisis, here in the UK and all around the world.
“With £60 we could provide 16 thermal blankets for people in need in Syria.
With £300 we could provide 50 clean delivery kits for midwives in Myanmar.
And with £1,000 we could provide five people with the support they need to readjust to life at home following a spell in hospital, here in the UK.”

Will Aid, now in its 29th year, is a charity scheme that raises money for nine charities: ActionAid, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save The Children, Sightsavers, Age UK, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).

Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Will Aid said: “Will Aid has made an amazing contribution to the work of the nine participating charities and last year was no exception. Thanks to the commitment of local solicitors that took part in this year’s Will Aid, many people both in the UK and abroad will receive life-changing support and local people who used the scheme have the peace of mind thanks to having a professionally drawn up will.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Lauren at Taylor Bracewell and let her know that thanks to her, lives will change for the better and people who need it will continue to receive the help and support that the charities work so hard to provide.

“Solicitors from Yorkshire raised an incredible amount of money in 2016, but we need more solicitors if we are to satisfy demand. Please sign up and donate time in 2017. Being part of Will Aid will raise the profile of your firm in your local community and bring new clients to your door, and all whilst supporting nine of the UK’s best loved charities.”

Will Aid will run again in November 2017. Solicitors and anyone who wants to make a Will can find out more by visiting


Do you know where your charity donations goes?

The UK and in particular the Yorkshire area has a wonderful reputation of donating money to charity, a great character trait that we pride ourselves on. Charities unfortunately are not all built equal and its becoming extremely difficult to figure out which are the best charities to give to where it will make a real difference.

The charity commission has reported that more than half a 107 random sample of charities it looked at are missing vital opportunity to tell their story and explain their impact.

How Charities are failing

The criteria, the charity commission looked at was:

  • How charities are reporting on the public benefit requirement
  • Whether the accounts meet readers’ needs

Some of the key findings that the commission made should give an indication to why it’s vitally important to have a clear message and accounts.

58 of the charities (54%) did not meet the public benefit reporting requirement: out of those 58:

  • 13 failed the requirement as they did not describe the difference that their charity had made
  • 21 of those charities did not include the statement that they had complied with the public benefit requirements and read Commission guidance
  • 24 had done neither

 Meeting reader’s needs, the commission’s findings include:

  • 75% of the accounts were of acceptable quality in meeting the basic needs of readers
  • 27 of the charities however (25% charities) did not meet the basic standard.

Charities employ more staff in the UK than the car, aerospace and chemical sectors. Transparency to the public is a vitally important part of how charities operate. To have a more open operation could be a great way to show why you matter and perhaps place you higher on the publics priority chart.

We have seen in the past several charities have been confronted on video and uploaded to social media outlets. The videos include questions from the public to charity stands asking what the money collected is being used for, who benefits from it and also what % of money collected will go to charities. One of these videos make national news as they did not have any answers and we forced to move on.

‘Its important for charities to really shout about the good work they are doing, not just report the bare minimum in terms of compliance. Seeing the impact a charity has on the community and to tell its story can be a powerful thing. As they say if you don’t blow your own trumpet who else will!’  Rajinder Singh

Rajinder Singh is part of our Business Team assisting in dealing with a wide range of commercial matters including company and business acquisitions and sales, all types of contractual work, academy conversions and charity work.




Rajinder Singh, Commercial Paralegal, Taylor Bracewell Solicitors

About Taylor Bracewell

Taylor Bracewell operates from offices in Thorne Road and Ten Pound Walk in Doncaster and Fountain Precinct in Sheffield. Specialist areas are: Family Law, Business Law, Personal Law (including Wills, Probate, Trusts and Conveyancing), Dispute Resolution, HR & Employment Law, Charity Law.

You can contact us at or call us on 01302 341 414 in Doncaster or 0114 272 1884 in Sheffield.

Renowned charity Sheffield YWCA relaunches as Yorkshire YWCA

We explain some fundamental legal aspects of running a charity

It has recently been announced that leading Sheffield Charity, Sheffield YWCA has re-launched as YWCA Yorkshire. This is to reflect the great work that they do to support exploited young women, children and families, and shows their growing influence in South Yorkshire.

Whilst this growing influence is to be commended, there are several things that will have happened behind the scenes in order for this to happen. Rajinder Singh, Commercial Paralegal, looks behind the scenes and explains important aspects of running a charity.

From a legal point of view any major change, such as a change of name, of a charity needs to be approved by the Charities Commission which governs and scrutinises charities within England to ensure they comply with the Charities Act 2011.

What many people might not be aware of is that a registered charity that is set up as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) is similar to a limited company, insofar as it is classed as a separate legal entity in the eyes of the law, and as such it needs to have a strong and robust constitution to help govern it. It is generally the constitution that sets out how and where a charity operates, what its objectives are and what powers those who are trustees of the charity wield. There are also distinct benefits of having a charity as a CIO, mainly for the trustees, as it limits their liability if the charity for should fail for any reason.

As the constitution is an extremely important document, it is always advisable to contact a specialist who may be able to help determine not only what the rights are under it, but also propose changes and draft them to allow a charity to develop and progress as YWCA Yorkshire has.

About Taylor Bracewell

Taylor Bracewell operates from offices in Thorne Road and Ten Pound Walk in Doncaster and Fountain Precinct in Sheffield. Specialist areas are: Family Law, Business Law, Personal Law (including Wills, Probate, Trusts and Conveyancing), Dispute Resolution, HR & Employment Law.

You can contact us at or call us on 01302 341 414 in Doncaster or 0114 272 1884 in Sheffield.


Image credit: YWCA Yorkshire

Judge finds Charity Mock Tribunal to be a success

Taylor Bracewell teamed up with the barristers at St John’s Chambers on the 8th July to raise money for the Master Cutler’s challenge by participating in a Charity Mock Tribunal. The event which took place at St John’s lavish new premises and was well attended was a great success.

The BB/TB team swapped places with those they normally represent by taking on the roles of Claimant, Respondent and witnesses to receive an intense yet light hearted cross examination from our neighbouring barristers at St John’s.

The scenario for the mock ET was a whistleblowing case centred around a teacher blowing the whistle on a school massaging exam results. As if that ever happens!

The evening demonstrated to those attending the need for obtaining advice from Employment Law experts at an early stage when faced with a claim and what a Tribunal will look for in a company’s procedures when deciding if a dismissal is fair.

Our Managing Partner, Sharon Beck commented that “as the Business Partner I do not have any real experience of employment tribunal’s and it was certainly an eye opener! Informative and entertaining at the same time – definitely made me think that it is somewhere I would never like to find myself or TB/BB!”

Congratulations to Lynn Parish for winning the Lingo Bingo and Karen Purnell for asking the worst question.

The proceeds raised as part of the Master Cutler’s challenge are in aid of Sheffield Hospital’s Charity and Whirlow Hall Farm Trust. If you have not already donated and would like to, it is not too late, please visit our just giving page at:

For advice and assistance on any aspect of HR and employment law contact a member of our team on 0114 272 1884 or email

Independent Schools Win Battle with Charity Commission

Following a recent judicial review (18th October 2011) the Charity Commission has been told it must amend its guidelines on charitable status for independent schools.

The unusual case involved a judicial review brought by the Independent schools Councils but also a request by the Attorney General for of charity law and whether a fee charging independent school can in fact be a charity.

As a charity an independent school receives certain fiscal benefits such as exemption from tax on investment income and tax relief from donors. The charities Act 2006 requires however, that an independent school provide a wider public benefit than merely providing education for their pupils and this must be proven in order to retain charitable status and the fiscal benefits associated.

The Independent Schools commission in bringing their case represented over 1000 independent schools who felt the charities commission placed too high a burden on the extent of bursaries offered to less well of children.

The High Court Tribunal confirmed that the schools must provide “more than a token benefit” to poorer children However it ultimately concluded that “certain parts of the Charity Commission’s guidance were erroneous”.

It now therefore appears that the extent of bursaries available to pupils who usually would be unable to afford the fees is not the only test as to whether an independent school meets the criteria for charitable status by acting in the public benefit.

Some bursaries will be required but in addition to this element, other considerations will be taken into account such as arrangements with state schools to allow access to sports and teaching facilities. The ruling states that “Provided that the operation of the school is seen overall as being for the public benefit, with an appropriate level of benefit for the poor, a subsidy to the not-so-well-off is to be taken account of in the public benefit.”

Despite the Independent Schools council claiming to be victorious in proceedings the charity commission is viewing the result to be that of a “draw” as the tribunal ultimately agreed that more than a “token benefit” was required for charitable status to be established. The commission stated “We accept of course the tribunal’s conclusion that some parts of our guidance do not explain the law clearly enough. We will amend the relevant parts of our public benefit guidance in the light of the tribunal’s decision, a process we have already begun.”

The Independent Schools Council’s General Council Matthew Burgess in relation to the decision said “The ruling liberates schools to innovate and be creative in their charitable provision. The commission’s former approach, now discredited by the tribunal, had the effect of reducing the public benefit of independent schools to a crude calculation of fees and bursaries.”

For further information on the case click here

For advice about any of the issues discussed here or any charity, school or HR related matter contact the Team on 01302 341414 or

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