Equine welfare organisation reinstated to charity register after eight years

An animal welfare organisation that was removed from the charity register eight years ago has been reinstated after a failed attempt to take over land it owned.

The Kent-based The National Equine Training Trust was removed from the charity register in 2013 after the Charity Commission concluded it was inactive.

The regulator found trustees had not filed any annual returns and had not responded to its attempts to make contact.

But the commission launched a statutory inquiry into The National Equine Training Trust in April 2020, after discovering that the charity still owned a piece of land in Sevenoaks, Kent, called the Gwendoline Walker Donkey Centre.

The regulator was alerted to this after a neighbour of the property, who claimed to have been using the land for several years, filed an adverse possession claim to take ownership of the land.

As the charity’s trustees had not responded to these proceedings, the commission intervened to protect the land and the possession claim was struck out, ensuring the land remained in the charity’s possession.

The charity’s remaining inactive trustees were also removed by the regulator. The commission’s inquiry concluded that they had mismanaged the charity by failing to manage its property responsibly.

Two new trustees have been appointed by the commission, who have since recruited a further three trustees.

Following the regulator’s intervention to prevent the land being lost, the charity was reinstated on the charity register on 15 March.

Amy Spiller, head of investigations at the Charity Commission, said: “Trustees must properly manage their charity’s assets and ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to protect them.

“We took action to protect the charity’s land and assets so it could again deliver on its charitable purposes.

“I hope, with new trustees in place, this charity will be able to again provide support to equine animals and inspire the trust of the communities it was set up to help.”

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