Catz Club gives up charitable status to become community interest company

After-school childcare charity had been criticised by the Charity Commission in 2008 for making an illegal donation to the Labour Party

Catz Club, the charity that was at the centre of a row over a political donation to the Labour Party, has relinquished its charitable status and relaunched as a community interest company.

The organisation, which operated under the name Schoolfriendetc, was forced to take back an illegal £7,500 donation in 2008. Political donations by charities are not permitted.

It was subsequently the subject of a critical Charity Commission inquiry.

Catz Club was wound up and removed from the commission’s register of charities last month.

It has re-launched as a CIC under the name Schoolfriendclub and still provides the same after-school childcare clubs.

Tony Mitchell, the chair of Catz Club, said the new legal form was easier to administer.

"There are a lot of requirements under the Charity Commission," he said. "They are burdensome and not really required to run after-school clubs."

Mitchell said he had written off loans totalling about £10m that had sustained Catz Club and that he was not involved in the new organisation, which he said was breaking even.

"It doesn’t need any third party funding now, for which I am grateful," he said.

A commission spokeswoman said: "We are satisfied that the charity was properly wound-up and that its remaining assets were dealt with appropriately."

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