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Ever since my teens I’ve believed charity was important to the world and have involved myself in small fundraisers and signed those ceaseless online petitions but several years ago I decided my time was more valuable and started volunteering for a local animal charity. If you gave me a brief explanation as to what would follow the next few years, I’d have called you a fantasist. This charity was one of the most complained about charities of 2015 and I, along with the many other volunteers involved in this, rest the blame for the ongoing issues directly on the Charity Commission’s failures.
This charity was part of an undercover BBC Week In Week Out investigation in Dec 2016 – you can watch the program on YouTube – https://youtu.be/vp-mFpDO0WE
Very quickly after volunteering I discovered things weren’t quite what they seemed, originally I was a staunch supporter of all the hard work put into this charity and can’t explain my emotion when I realised the scale of animal neglect and the lies submitted by the founder to cover it up! At first I volunteered more, thought it was an issue of workload but no, the following is a short list of what’s been evidenced;
- Abuses of trust and power
- Phenomenal abuses of governance
- Ignoring requirements from the Charities Act
- False minutes
- Lies regarding animal welfare
- Lies surrounding the employment of related parties
- Lies regarding Trustee’s old and new
- Lies about Volunteers, Membership, meetings
- False statements regarding animal ownership
- False allegations to police and public in reference to Trustees, Volunteers and Supporters
- Serious slander about Trustees, Volunteers and Supporters
- Deceitful masking of financial abuse
- Trustees being removed from Charity property by the founder
- Wilful Mismanagement of financial records
- Failures on a massive scale from Health and Safety to employment law
- Multiple and continued conflicts of interest not managed at all
my last email has now been ignored [by the Charity Commission] for 2 months 2 weeks and 3 days
Evidence of each of these has been submitted to the charity commission, with each reply becoming more and more robotic, until they no longer replied, my last email has now been ignored for 2 months 2 weeks and 3 days, even after chasing it up. Thus far the Commission has Ignored beneficiaries suffering, ignored constitutional requirements, didn’t contact one other body to clarify anything, didn’t verify any of the lies being told by the founder, importantly allowed an illegal AGM and the person the allegations are all made against – to once again become a trustee and worst of all – breached the trust of the public who expect the commission to protect against charity wrongdoing which most people perceive as one of the most immoral of all acts.
During this whole process not one informed individual have asserted any faith in the Commission’s ability to act, each only confirming the depth of issues, but all of who do not want to stick their neck out affecting their own roles or defy such a clandestine and uncontrolled body. Our MPs met with the Commission and confirmed they are not what they expected even describing them as a ‘chocolate fireguard’.
While trying to get the commission to step in to stop the abuse and to police the industry it’s responsible for, the founder has accused us of Theft – from stealing donation boxes to transferring money out of the charity account and into my own (then advising supporters the police can’t do anything about it as it was more than 12 months ago!), bullying – even going to the point of advising in a ‘solicitors letter’ that complaints had been made by an apprentice of the charity (the college confirmed this was untrue), later advising the police there was a restraining order on me issued by the apprentice and countless other imaginary wrongdoings, created purposely to destroy characters and allow the founder to keep unilateral control.
There are no words to describe what those actions cause to a person
There are no words to describe what those actions cause to a person and many of the volunteers involved have suffered major depression, some even having breakdowns, others an irreparable grief for supporting such an organisation. I don’t think there are words to truly describe the person who committed the actions against these hardworking and dedicated volunteers, it’s clear anyone who can act in such a manner should never be allowed to control a charity, but in the same should a regulatory body who can ignore such horrific actions be allowed to continue?
If it wasn’t for the courage of those original volunteers to stand up and fight for probity, then this regime will carry on. The more concerning issue is that it’s only due to the beneficiaries being animals that the courage was found, if this charity had of been one to fundraise for support of other groups or societal problems, then they would have just walked away. What percentage of charities are similar situations happening to, how many other volunteers are suffering because of an incompetent regulator?
Major changes are needed as currently the Charity Commission is not fit for purpose