Regulator identifies first 'sleepy trusts' under scheme that aims to unlock millions in charitable funding

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has identified the first eight ‘sleepy trusts’ under its Revitalising Trusts project.

The regulator began the project in February with the aim of identifying charitable trusts registered in Scotland that appeared to be inactive and support them to reactivate by using funds that are lying dormant.  

There are about 250 trusts on the Scottish charity register that meet the criteria for support, based upon accounts and returns made to OSCR over the past five years. 

They are being divided into smaller groups and looked at in batches before deciding whether to contact them.

'Sleepy trusts' are identified as charities that have had either no income or no expenditure over the past five years, or have used less than 30 per cent of their total income over the same period to help good causes. 

The project will also look at charitable trusts that have failed to submit annual accounts and reports to OSCR within the past five years.

It is hoped the scheme could release millions of pounds in charitable funding. 

OSCR said eight charitable trusts have been selected from the first group, with more to follow over the coming months. 

The regulator has written to each charity advising them that they are eligible for help from the project and that they will be referred to Foundation Scotland, alongside its own support. 

Martin Tyson, head of regulation and improvement at the OSCR, said: “The aim of the project is to find and reach out to charitable trusts that appear to be struggling to use their funds to provide public benefit. 

“There could be many reasons for the inactivity of these trusts and all the while it continues valuable charitable assets remain ‘locked up’ instead of being used to support good causes.

“By teaming up with Foundation Scotland we can offer to work with trustees to identify the problem and explore the best solution.

“I would urge any trust that is contacted by us about the project to view this not as a criticism but an opportunity to work with us constructively.”

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