An appeal has been lodged at the charity tribunal against the Charity Commission's appointment of a trustee to a north London community centre charity after the trustee opted to close the charity at the end of 2014.
The regulator has today published a report on its operational case on the Old Barn Youth and Community Association. The charity had objects of providing leisure and recreation activities to children and adults in East Finchley, and operated from a purpose-built community centre.
In 2012, the commission received a range of complaints about the charity's management from the local MP, residents, the local council and a specially formed local action group. The report says these complaints alleged that the charity's premises had been taken over by a small group of people who used it for a private nursery and that there "was minimal evidence of charitable activity at the charity’s premises", with the local community "generally excluded".
The commission found that the charity had no properly appointed trustees or members and that it was essentially inactive as a charity. The regulator gave advice to the group controlling the premises about getting its governance back in order, but this was ignored, the report says.
The commission appointed the consultancy Mobilise Public as trustee of the charity in October 2014. After consultation of the community by Mobilise, and an attempt by the trustee to find previous members of the charity, it became clear that there was no interest in resurrecting the organisation, the report says.
The commission gave authority for the charity to surrender the lease it had on the building from the council, and it was removed from the register on 24 December 2014.
An appeal to the charity tribunal against the order to appoint Mobilise as trustee of the charity has since been made, but the report says this was made outside the time limit. The Charity Commission could not confirm who exactly had made the appeal. It is now at the discretion of the tribunal whether or not to allow it to proceed.