Scheme could release £12m for good causes from inactive charities in Wales, regulator says

A project to release funds from inactive charities in Wales could direct £12m to good causes, the Charity Commission has said.

A similar programme in England outperformed initial predictions by releasing nearly £80m to charities.

The regulator has launched the Revitalising Trusts Programme in Wales today, and said it would work with Community Foundation Wales and the Welsh government to identify dormant foundations.

The commission said it was looking at releasing funds held by charities that have not spent any money in the past five years, or spent less than 30 per cent of their income in that period. It urged trustees at inactive charities to come forward.

The programme will help trustees either transfer funds to Community Foundation Wales, which will then distribute the money to other charities, or support them to make their organisations active again.

Tracy Howarth, assistant director of casework at the Charity Commission, said releasing inactive funds was especially important given the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

She said: “We know trustees have the best intentions, but it’s sometimes harder to transform this momentum into long-term action. [Sometimes] charities find they have run their course.

“Through Revitalising Trust Wales, we want to help trustees put the hard-fundraised money to good use, to make a real and positive difference to those who need it most.”

Richard Williams, chief executive of Community Foundation Wales, said: “There is no reason for this to be stressful. It can actually be a very positive experience for the trustees involved and their community.

“We can help the trustees to change the charitable purpose of the trust or by releasing inactive funds and redistributing them to communities across Wales.

“We know trustees worry about inactive funds. We can help them through this programme to ensure they are within charity law and that their communities benefit as was originally intended from their funds.”

The Revitalising Trust programme in England, which started in 2018, has redistributed nearly £80m to charities. This is four times the amount initially predicted in the government’s civil society strategy.

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