Regulator investigates disability charity after complaints that beneficiaries cannot access funds

The Charity Commission will be looking into complaints by families of beneficiaries that they have had difficulty communicating with the Darren Wright Foundation and accessing funds raised on their behalf

The Charity Commission has announced today that it will investigate complaints that beneficiaries are struggling to access funds from a charity set up to help people with disabilities and life-limiting illnesses.

The regulator said in a statement today that it had opened a statutory inquiry into the Darren Wright Foundation, which was registered as a charity in May last year and has received donations from fundraising events.

Among the events advertised on the Facebook page of the charity's founder, Scott Wright, were an evening in August with the former world champion boxer Joe Calzaghe, at which VIP tables for 10 were advertised at £650.

The commission began engaging with the charity in August after receiving complaints. It said in a statement: "These complainants, who included the families of beneficiaries of the charity, raised concerns about difficulties they had faced in communicating with the charity and accessing funds that had been raised on behalf of their family members.

"The commission has also experienced difficulties in communicating with the charity and has therefore been unable to adequately address a number of regulatory concerns identified through the public complaints and by way of the commission’s own scrutiny."

The investigation will examine administration, governance and management by the trustees, including potential conflicts of interest.

The foundation is named after Darren Wright, who has cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour care. According to its website, the funds raised help other people with disabilities and life-limiting illnesses. "None of our donations, not one penny, gets spent on costs, admin or wages," it says.

The commission's website lists just two trustees for the charity. One is Scott Wright, the brother of Darren Wright. The other is named as Susan Wright.

But the charity announced last month that Scott Wright had stepped down from his roles as chairman and founder "due to a medical intervention" amid reports in the Bristol Post that families were struggling to get hold of funds pledged to pay for their children's care.

The foundation did not respond to Third Sector's request for comment.

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