Windfall trust fails test

A former community councillor has called for resignations at 4 Winds Trust after an investigation found governance of the charity was 'weak'.

Thursday, 4th August 2016, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2016, 5:38 pm
Little Raith wind farm was erected in 2013 by Kennedy Renewables

The trust – which distributes £50,000 a year from Little Raith wind farm to community groups in Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath, Auchtertool and Lumphinnans - came under scrutiny from watchdog OSCR following complaints by James Glen last year.

Mr Glen, resigned as chairman of Lochgelly Community Council in September citing “a lack of transparency and public accountability in the charity’s operations”.

“I had been asked questions by the public about the less than transparent way the charity had been making grants.” he said, but found it “impossible” and he had since been “demonized”.

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The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) found the trust failed to keep proper minutes and had operated with only four trustees - despite quorum requiring at least five.

Despite being awarded charitable status in April 2013, the trust also failed to hold an annual members meeting until February this year.

In addition to late submission of accounts, OSCR also noted the trust needed to improve communication with community councils, whose councillors were automatically trust members.

OSCR concluded the breaches were “concerning” and recommended trustees attend training within six months.

Mr Glen commented: “The only way to restore public trust in the charity is for the trustees responsible for this mess to resign. “

A spokesman from the 4 Winds Trust responded: “We accept that there are certain areas which need to be improved upon and have already taken steps to address these...but Mr Glen really needs to put the findings into perspective, there was never any question about the financial affairs of the trust.”

The trust had since recruited more volunteer trustees, he added.

“Surely Mr Glen doesn’t argue that people should have lost out because of some minor administration problems and a lack of awareness of charitable law of the trustees?”