Commission to close fundraising charity

The Charity Commission has been called in to oversee the closure of a Lancashire health charity that has raised more than £60,000 for a hydrotherapy pool that its local hospital does not want.

Pennine Community Health Charity launched the £800,000 appeal five years ago after successfully raising funds for an MRI scanner for Royal Oldham Hospital. The charity’s treasurer, Frank Hudson, said the hospital had provided a shopping list of further items needed, but withdrew its request for the pool shortly after the appeal began.

Because it collected the funds for a specific purpose, the charity is not allowed to redistribute the money raised. A spokesman for the Charity Commission confirmed that it was “advising the charity’s trustees on the way forward”.

Frank Hudson, treasurer for the charity, said: “There are no prospects for raising money for anything else. There have been no other requests for fundraising. The collapse of the appeal has been a disaster.”

The organisation, formerly known as the Oldham Health Charity, was set up in 1998 to raise funds for the scanner at the Royal Oldham Hospital. It was asked to move out of its hospital-based offices in 2006.

A spokesman for Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Royal Oldham Hospital, said: “We have a number of outstanding issues relating to the former Oldham Health Charity on which we are seeking clarification from the Charity Commission.”

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