Charity Matters Apr/May 2016 ISSUE 66. Thank you for your continued support, you can find more articles on

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Charity Matters is a free eZine, published every two months, which we think you will find a useful and informative resource.

Many high street charity shops should be closed as they cost the Government more in tax breaks than they make in profits.

This is the conclusion being drawn from a True and Fair Foundation study of the UKs 10,500 charity shops which showed that many were less profitable than high street retailers, which didn't have the advantages of an 80% reduction in business rates, donated goods to sell and volunteer staff. The Foundation campaigns for more efficiency in the charity sector and points out that £1.6 billion in tax breaks to charity shops only results in profits of £290 million, or just 18% of the value of the concessions, without the free goods and free staffing.

According to the Foundation: "There simply are not enough sales or customers to justify 10,500 charity shops in the UK"


A treasurer of a Lancashire branch of the Unite union has been jailed for 20 months after he stole monies due to be given to charities.

Heath List, 49, wrote 283 cheques to himself and family members totalling £53,000 to finance school fees, the upkeep of a pony for his daughter and three holidays a year, in one instance stealing £2,000 destined for the Japanese tsunami appeal to pay for a family ski holiday. Preston Crown Court heard that List started defrauding in 2003 after his wife was seriously injured in a car accident and unable to work, although she still retained her head teacher's salary which gave the family a household income of nearly £100,000 a year.

Recorder Nicholas Clarke QC told List: "You chose to live a lavish lifestyle, well beyond your means. The offences were born out of greed and they were particularly mean".


The Times has published strong criticism of the League Against Cruel Sports, which it says has "squandered" a £3.5 million bequest on salary rises for staff, foreign travel, hotel bills and a failed prosecution of six members of the Lamberton Hunt.

The prosecution failed when the close links with the charity of the expert witness, Stephen Harris came to light, calling into question previous convictions involving Harris. The foreign travel and hotel bills related to teams making trips to Malta to try to stop the shooting of wild birds, and to the USA to try to improve the welfare of racing greyhounds.

Criticism has also been levelled by The Times at the Charity Commission, which had been contacted by a whistle-blower at the league who offered full details of the spending. The commission refused to take any action on the basis that the matters were issues for the trustees. The newspaper praised the commission however for acting quickly to investigate and close down extremist bodies masquerading as charities to raise money for terrorism.


The modestly-named Diane Abbott Foundation, an educational charity set up last year by the Labour shadow cabinet minister is facing possible fines and prosecution after it failed to file its annual return when due on January 3.. This is a criminal offence which could land Ms Abbott and her three co-directors with a £5,000 fine each, a criminal record and disqualification from running a company. Abbott's charity is also seven months overdue in filing its annual accounts, which will cost it a £1,500 fine.

The educational charity has come in for some ridicule since Abbott sent her son to a private school and had unwisely criticised others for doing the same thing. The above has also drawn ridicule from Tory MPs for Abbott on the basis that, with this track record of financial management she wants to be in charge of the UK's £12 billion foreign aid budget.


Housing and homelessness charities have warned that recent moves by local councils to ban rough sleeping are counter-productive.

Councils now have the power, bestowed by government, to criminalise any activity they deem to have a "detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality" by using a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). Those found in breach of a PSPO face a £100 fine, a £1,000 penalty if they fail to pay and a criminal record.

Although PSPOs were brought in to tackle such anti-social behaviour as public drinking, aggressive begging and sale of legal highs a recent Freedom of Information request found that 36 of the UK's 375 local councils were mis-using them to target homeless people for sleeping rough.


Charities are being used by fraudsters to persuade computer users to click on a link that then encrypts all their files in seconds, allowing the criminals to demand a payment for unlocking them.

The fraudsters have used charity Koestler Trust, lying to victims with phishing emails that they owe it money and telling them to click on a link to see the invoice. Those that do are then connected to the encrypting malware, called Maktub which initially demands a ransom of around £400, rising to around £550 if not paid after three days.The phishing emails are given extra credibility by accurately including the victim's address.

Computer users are advised to never open emails that claim they owe, or are owed money. The UK's central body for reporting cyber crime is Action Fraud at web:, helpline on tel: 0300 123 2040


A programme of short seminars on grant applications is offered free to charities wanting to learn more about the subject.

They feature Nicola Brentnall MVO, director of The Queens Trust, and are offered by chartered accountants Price Bailey at their offices in London and Cambridge, and at Sprowston Manor, Norwich.

All the sessions include complimentary refreshments for delegates and the dates, venues and times are: Tuesday May 10 in London 4.30pm - 8.00pm / Thursday May 19 Cambridge 4.30pm - 8.00pm / Tuesday May 24 London 4.30 - 8.00pm / Friday June 10 Sprowston Manor, Norwich 07.45am - 10.30am.



Cyclists cycling from John O Groats to Lands End to raise £250,000 for Sport Relief came across a van parked on a lonely road near the Cornwall and Devon border with a young woman screaming for help in the back.

Delivery driver Emma Lloyd had left the driving seat and climbed in the back looking for a pen when a gust of wind blew the back door closed locking her in, with her mobile phone inaccessible on the van's front seat. She was trapped for four hours before the passing cyclists, hearing her screams, were able to let her out.

Time for someone to design back doors for vans that can be opened from the inside in case of emergency?



1. From Jonathan Hodrien
Subject: Well Done

I really enjoyed this edition. Keep up the good work



2. From Charlotte Cooper
Dear Mr Cotterell,

Following your item about unlawful poaching in the countryside I would like to add that this is not a new issue. This sort of activity has always been a problem for farmers and landowners in the countryside and predates the 2004 Hunting Act. Such poaching and trespass was never a legitimate “field sport”. Traditional hare coursing, which was, as you write, made illegal by the 2004 act, is a completely different activity that was carried out with the support of the landowner and under a strict code – in fact it was the forerunner of today’s greyhound racing.

Best wishes
Charlotte Cooper

Editor's response
I am sure, Charlotte, that all the animals killed with dogs for fun fully appreciated that it was being done legitimately, with the support of the landowner and under a strict code, and were most grateful for all this as they were torn to pieces.



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Charity Matters is a free eZine, published every two months, which we think you will find a useful and informative resource. It is distributed monthly to approximately 23,000 selected charities based throughout the UK and is designed to help keep you abreast of issues of potential interest.

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The views of the editor are not necessarily those of the publishers.

Peter Cotterell
Tel: 01767 312986

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