Inactive charities urged to join dormant charity trusts programme

Charity Commission chair Baroness Stowell says the money in these charities should be put to good use by other charities

The Charity Commission and UK Community Foundations are calling on inactive charities to join a programme that harvests money from dormant charity trusts.

The commission’s chair, Baroness Stowell, is appealing for the trustees of inactive charities to “come forward now so that the charity money they hold doesn’t sit idle, but can be put to good use by other charities with similar causes supporting people and communities at this time of heightened need”.

The Revitalising Trusts programme, which has secured funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport until March 2021, was set up to reach out to about 500 inactive trusts in the year ahead to put funds lying in dormant accounts “to good use”.

Since its launch in 2018, the programme has contacted more than 1,800 charities and redeployed £32m.

When trustees of a particular charity have failed to respond, the commission has intervened to wind up the charity and has so far removed 179 charities from the register.

The released funds go to causes in line with the aims of the dormant charity, or the trust is transferred to a local community foundation to be managed for the long-term benefit of local communities. Charities that have objectives to support animals, religious causes or war memorials are not yet eligible for the programme.

Once the commission identifies a charity as dormant (having had no income or expenditure over the past five years) or ineffective (has spent less than 30 per cent of total income over the previous five years), it gives the trustees the opportunity to get back up and running or to redeploy the fund.

Stowell praised the charities that had “come forward willingly to assist with this important programme”, adding that they “have done a great public service”.

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