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Preston armed forces charity being investigated by regulator

Posted on - 27th January, 2017 - 10:01pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Preston City Centre, Preston News
A still from a BBC documentary which investigated Support the Heroes and other military charities
A still from a BBC documentary which investigated Support the Heroes and other military charities

A Preston military charity is under investigation due to alleged financial irregularities.

The Charity Commission has put an interim manager in charge of Support the Heroes.

Based in Winckley Square the charity has been under investigation since early November by the regulatory body for charities.

Support the Heroes – listed as being run from Richard House, Winckley Square – says it has raised more than £250,000 to help former military personnel fight depression. The financial accounts of the charity have been frozen while the inquiry takes place.

The Charity Commission says it opened an inquiry after receiving a number of complaints about the charity, particularly about its fundraising activities.

A statement from the regulator said: “The Commission has serious concerns about an agreement that the charity has entered with a commercial fundraising company. It is particularly concerned about the transparency of the charity’s fundraising arrangements and the ability of the public to make an informed decision about donating to the charity.

“The regulator is also examining the charity’s governance arrangements and the ability of the trustees to avoid or manage potential conflicts of interest. The Commission is also liaising with the Fundraising Regulator about its concerns with the charity’s fundraising practices.

“As a result of these serious concerns the Commission ordered the trustees not to part with any of the charity’s property on 11 November 2016, as well as directing them to cease all fundraising while it conducts further investigations. The Commission froze the charity’s and subsidiary’s bank accounts on 18 November 2016.

“The Commission appointed Brian Johnson of HW Fisher & Company as interim manager on 9 December 2016 to assist the Commission in swiftly addressing its regulatory concerns. The interim manager is appointed with all the powers and duties of a trustee and will act to the exclusion of the current charity trustees. This is a temporary appointment and will be reviewed on a regular basis in line with normal procedures.”

Questions have previously been raised about Support the Heroes in a BBC documentary The Great Military Charity Scandal – broadcast in early November last year.

What the charity say

Trustees of Support The Heroes – listed as Pamela Carruthers and Pauline White – have lodged an appeal against the inquiry.

The inquiry is due to examine the role the trustees have played in managing the charity’s resources.

A statement on the charity’s website says they are ‘very upset’ about statements made about the charity.

They state: “Support The Heroes and its Trustees are not connected to any other charitable organisation or fundraising company either in our local area or elsewhere in the world. We have never closed down or reopened under a different name. The financial support we give to other charities furthers our charitable objectives and the details are clearly publicised on our news pages.

We would state once again that since the Charity was formed no money i.e. fees, wages or remuneration has been taken by any of the Trustees for giving up their time and efforts for wholly worthwhile causes.

“We do all our own fundraising and have never used a professional fundraising company.”

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