Norfolk fundraising website suspended after £250,000 shortfall
PUBLISHED: 13:57 18 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:27 18 July 2013
A donation website based in Norfolk has been shut down by the industry watchdog after it emerged that more than £250,000 owed to charities was unaccounted for.
Charitygiving.co.uk collects money from fundraisers for their chosen cause and is run by The Dove Trust based at Bawdeswell near Fakenham.
Its donation page been suspended and its bank accounts frozen by the Charity Commission as it carries out a statutory inquiry into the charity.
The regulator says it has “serious concerns” over management of the charity and is acting to protect public donations.
A shortfall of at least £250,000 was found in the donated funds - money the website should have passed on to charities.
An interim manager has been appointed and its trustees, Keith Colman, Bryan Gunn and Mark Hall, have been excluded from the charity’s control and it is not yet clear how long the website will be shut for.
The Charity Commission said the trustees have not filed any accounts since 2009, and Michelle Russell, head of investigations and enforcement at the Commission said the financial situation of the charity means there was “no option” but to suspend the online portal.
“We have taken this action because of serious concerns about the trustees’ management of the fundraising portal and the charity’s financial situation”, she said.
“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.”
On their website the Dove Trust have said: “We can confirm that the Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the Dove Trust, who operate the online donations portal www.charitygiving.co.uk.
“We are currently working with the Charity Commission to consider as a matter of urgency the next steps in order to protect existing funds the public has donated, and any future donations.
“We recognise this will cause concern among the charities and donors using the website.”
The Charity Commission have said funds donated on or after July 12 should be automatically directed back to the donor through the banking system.
Donors should check their bank accounts to ensure this has happened and if not, contact the Interim Manager by emailing DoveTrustInterimManager@crowecw.co.uk or phoning 0207 842 7313.
Did you donate to Charitygiving? Contact Rosa McMahon on firstname.lastname@example.org