Regulator starts statutory inquiry into disability sports charity

The Charity Commission is probing the fundraising activities of Dream It Believe It Achieve It, set up by the Paralympic footballer Matt Dimbylow

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a sports and disability charity amid concerns about its fundraising activities.

The regulator said on Friday that it had opened an inquiry into Dream It Believe It Achieve It, which was set up by the Paralympic footballer Matt Dimbylow with objects of advancing the physical education of children and young people, the promotion of amateur sport and the relief of disability.

The commission said in a statement that it had been engaging with the charity, which was registered in 2013, since March 2014 after concerns were raised about its fundraising activities.

The Daily Mirror newspaper ran a story in February 2014 in which it claimed that only £2.50 from scratchcards costing £10 each was going to the cause.

The charity’s accounts for the year to the end of November 2014 show that of £979,383 raised for the charity through a society lottery, £920,365 was spent on lottery administration and management, meaning only 6 per cent went on the cause.

The charity stopped running the lottery and its income fell from £1.1m in 2013/14 to £6,098 the following year, meaning it was not required to file any accounts because its income was too low.

Its income increased to £99,650 in 2015/16, accounts filed with the commission show, with spending of £87,117, although the regulator said the accounts for this year had been qualified by the charity’s independent examiner.

The commission said its inquiry would examine the management of the charity by its trustees, including its financial controls; its relationship with connected companies and "whether these relationships are in the best interests of the charity"; and transactions between the charity and companies connected to the trustees and former trustees, and whether any unauthorised benefits had been received.

The charity’s latest set of accounts lists three related companies: Aragorn Sport, DBA Sport CIC, and Socatots (Mid-Cheshire), which are all controlled by Dimbylow, who is a trustee of the charity, and his wife Emma, a former trustee.

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