Charity Commission probes armed forces charity

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An armed forces veterans’ charity is the subject of a statutory inquiry which will examine if money has been used for personal unauthorised benefit, among other things.

The Our Local Heroes Foundation, based at Pearson House, Station Road, Bamber Bridge is being investigated by The Charity Commission as of October 12, 2016, after receiving a number of complaints in June.

The Commission also provided the foundation with an action plan after concerns were raised during a meeting with its trustees.

But following the new concerns, the Commission visited the charity’s premises on October 4 where it was established that the action plan had not been complied with and that there were ‘clear on-going serious regulatory concerns relating to the administration of the charity by the trustees and the private benefit obtained by the founder’.

The inquiry will now examine whether there has been any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity, lease arrangements between the charity and third parties, to what extent the action plan has been followed, whether the trustees have acted prudently in relation to the financial administration and management of the charity and whether the charity has been used for personal unauthorised benefit.

Trevor Galley, chairman of Our Local Heroes Foundation, said: “No sectors are immune to fraud and mismanagement and the charity sector is no exception.

“Money made by us should go to those who will most benefit from it but they won’t if they can’t get access to it. It is never pleasant to think that people working in the charity sector would be capable of misusing money or assets for personal gain. Clearly this is unacceptable.”

The charity says its objective is to relieve the financial hardship of people who have served in the armed forces and who are now suffering from physical or mental disabilities. The charity carries out its objectives by making grants.

Mr Galley was appointed as chairman in March 2016 but says he was unable to take up his role until July due to other commitments.

He said: “On taking up the post I identified a number of concerns which are now being investigated by The Charity Commission. I am giving them my full cooperation.”