I must caveat this blog with a mention that there are strong opinions in here…mainly mine, and if you disagree, I invite you to put your point across in the comments.
Traditionally, charities used to set up trading subsidiaries (as standard limited companies) where they owned all the shares in the subsidiary. This was in order undertake trading activity that wasn’t part of the charity’s objects/core activities
Charities receive a lot of benefits due to the special nature of their legal structure – it is specifically for organisations that are doing something charitable and intending to have a public benefit.
This is such a common question, especially now conversion from a CIC (Community Interest Company) to a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) is much easier than it was previously.