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The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norfolk charities among 1,800 hit by web case

DoveTrust124A number of Norfolk Christian projects and organisations are among the 1,810 charities that have been affected by the suspension of the online giving website www.charitygiving.co.uk run by the Dereham-based Dove Trust.

 
The Charity Commission launched an investigation into the website and the Dove Trust in June and in order to protect funds the public has raised and prevent further charitable pledges being made via the website it was suspended in July.
 
The Charity Commission appointed interim manager, Pesh Framjee of Crowe Clark Whitehill, who in July assumed full control of the charity to the exclusion of the charity’s trustees.
 
This week (September 23) a new update has been issued by the manager via the website: “Work to reconcile the Dove Trust's accounts held in its donation management system is finished and we have closed the Dove Trust's offices,” it says. “Our thanks to the hundreds of charities that responded to our request for information. We are now comfortable with relying on the amounts showing on the Dove Trust's systems, and will soon be ready to proceed to the next step in the process.
 
“We have identified over 4235 fundraising pages which are donating funds to 1810 charities and good causes. The next step is preparing for an interim distribution of funds to these charities and good causes, using the available cash assets of the Dove Trust. As part of this, we will be verifying each charity/good cause and its bank account details.”
 
The trustees of the Dove Trust are founder Keith Colman, former Norwich City goalkeeper Bryan Gunn and Donna Naghshiheh.
 
Norfolk-based charities listed on the Charitygiving.co.uk website included The Mancroft Advice Project, Bryan Gunn’s Appeal, Families House and Voice for Change as well as national faith charities such as Christians Against Poverty, Youth2000 and Make Poverty History.
 
On June 28, due to the risk to charitable funds, the Charity Commission acted to restrict the charity’s bank accounts.  The trustees had not filed any accounts since the year ending 5 April 2009 and the Commission had serious concerns about mismanagement in the administration of the charity by the trustees in relation to the operation of the online donations portal and risk to charity funds. The interim manager’s assessment indicated that there was a shortfall between the funds due to the charities donated through CharityGiving, and the cash held by The Dove Trust.
 
Back in July, Michelle Russell, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, said: “We have taken this action because of serious concerns about the trustees’ management of the fundraising portal and the charity’s financial situation.  We recognise this will cause concern among the donors and fundraisers who have collected money for the charity through the site and for the charities who are expecting to receive those funds.  However it is now clear that the financial situation of the charity means there was no option but to suspend the online portal.” 
 
The trustees of the Dove Trust previously stated: "We have a track record of 30 years of not letting charities and good causes down. A meeting has been arranged between the interim manager and a large charity who could salvage this situation and ensure that all charities and good causes who have raised funds via CharityGiving do not lose out at all."
 
www.charitygiving.co.uk


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