MI5 staff fund granted charitable status

The Cinquefoil Trust provides relief of financial hardship for serving and former members of the secret service

MI5 headquarters, Thames House, London
MI5 headquarters, Thames House, London

An organisation with the object of relieving financial hardship among current and former staff of MI5 has been given charitable status by the Charity Commission.

The Cinquefoil Trust was entered on the commission’s register of charities last month.

According to its entry on the register, its charitable objects are: "For such purposes as are exclusively charitable by providing grants to registered charities; and the relief of financial hardship amongst serving and former members of the Security Service, the dependants of any such members and those in a family relationship with any such member."

The Security Service is the formal name for MI5, the UK’s national security intelligence agency.

It is understood that although a fund to be used for these purposes has existed for a number of years, a rise in the number of bequests, especially during MI5’s centenary year in 2009, led to the need for it to be registered formally as a charity.

The trust will not be funded by public money, with all income coming from voluntary donations, including, possibly, internal fundraising events.

Cinquefoil’s entry on the register lists no telephone number, email address or website, with the only contact detail being the same postal address as given on the MI5 website.

It also does not name any trustees, with the website saying: "This charity has been given a dispensation by the Charity Commission from publishing the names of its trustees."

The charity was established by trust deed on 30 May 2013. It takes its name from the five-petalled leaves that appear on the MI5 logo.

The Home Office, which handles media inquiries for MI5, declined to comment.

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