Grantmaker changes name after allegations against founder

The name change comes after Hamish Ogston was subject to claims of exploitation and trafficking, which he says he does not recognise

The Hamish Ogston Foundation has changed its name to the Vinehill Trust after a series of allegations were made against its founding chair. 

The claims, first reported last October in The Sunday Times newspaper, alleged that the multi-millionaire businessman Hamish Ogston trafficked women and used the foundation to bring women into the country.

The claims also included allegations of sexual exploitation and drug offences.

Ogston stepped down from the foundation shortly after and a new board was appointed.

He told The Sunday Times that he did not recognise the claims against him. 

According to information available on the Charity Commission’s register, the foundation has changed its name to the Vinehill Trust, with its contact details still under its former name.

The charity’s website has been made private and is currently unavailable.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police said that detectives from its Central Specialist Crime Command were “investigating historic allegations of exploitation and drugs offences”.

It added: “We take reports of this nature extremely seriously and would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of exploitation, no matter how long ago it was, to come forward.”

After the allegations came to light, several charities severed ties with the trust and returned donated funds, including English Heritage, which pledged to return a £667,000 donation to the grantmaker.

Historic England also distanced itself from the charity and returned £50,000 donated for the expansion of its heritage skills building programme. 

The National Trust, which received a £6.2m donation from the grantmaker, also suspended its work with the foundation after the allegations. 

A spokesperson for the National Trust recently said that its board has met to discuss whether to return the donated funds, adding: “We are now discussing next steps with The Vinehill Trust. 

The Vinehill Trust has not responded to Third Sector’s requests for comment.

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