Fundraiser put charity's reputation at risk, says commission

A charity has been slammed for signing a contract that allowed a fundraiser to keep 80 per cent of the money he collected.

Newcastle businessman Terry Hands raised £247,000 selling competition tickets on behalf of the Summertime Trust, a charity for disabled children based in the city. But he kept £198,000 and passed only £49,000 to the charity.

A Charity Commission report said that the contract the trust had signed with Hands contravened both the Charities Act 1992 and the Charitable Institutions (Fund-Raising) Regulations 1994.

The trustees did not visit Hands’ office or check his books before signing a 10-year deal allowing him to sell competition tickets on the charity’s behalf. They also did not know the dates and venues of fundraising collections, how much was raised, where it was collected or by who, whether the collectors had licences, or what Hands’ costs were.

Hands’ collecting methods attracted complaints within a week from local councils, high street supermarkets and members of the public. He was accused of fundraising without permission or proper licences and not admitting that tickets were being sold by professional fundraisers.

He also refused to cooperate with the trustees and continued to collect cash after the charity asked him to stop – an offence for which he could still face police prosecution.

The commission concluded that the trustees did not seek proper legal advice and did not pay enough care to the reputation of their charity. It added that Hands had a history of breaking fundraising rules.

The Summertime Trust has now shut down due to lack of funds.

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