New organisation to continue work of charity that closed after being hit by £55,000 scam

A new organisation is being set up to continue the work of a charity scammed out of tens of thousands of pounds.

Right From the Start was established to help new parents in south Wales 25 years ago, and then ran a community hub.

But trustees decided to wind down the charity, popularly known as Bargoed Community Hub, after it was unable to recover all the money stolen by cyber criminals in November 2020.

The charity was scammed out of £55,000 by people who took control of bank accounts run by Margaret Lippard, its chair of trustees.

Lippard said the scammer posed as an Amazon worker to steal from both her personal savings and the charity’s bank account.

Lloyds Bank initially agreed to return half of the stolen money, at which point Right From the Start’s trustees decided to close the charity because it could not make up the shortfall of more than £20,000.

But the bank has now agreed to refund the money in full.

Trustees plan to transfer the cash to create a community interest company and one of the charity’s two part-time employees is likely to join the new organisation.

Right From the Start had income and expenditure of about £230,000 in 2018/20, according to its most recent accounts filed with the Charity Commission.

Lippard told Third Sector the experience had left her “absolutely drained”.

She said the board of trustees would consider proposals to create the CIC, which would act as a “mobile hub” to help more people across the region.

Lippard said the past 18 months had also left her “partially angry”.

She said the original charity could have been saved “if the bank had really looked at it and changed its position sooner, instead of waiting until there was publicity and then doing the decent thing”.

She added: “I am very glad it isn’t all just going to disappear.”

A Lloyds Bank statement said: “We have a great deal of sympathy for Ms Lippard as the victim of a scam and, after a further review of her case, will be refunding the remainder of the funds she lost as we recognise we could have done more to stop the scam."

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