First ‘dormant’ charities contacted by regulator

The Office for the Scottish Charity Regulator has begun contacting the first charities for its Revitalising Trusts Project, which aims to resurrect dormant charities or use their remaining funds for good causes.

Eight charitable trusts have been written to by the regulator, with “more to follow over the coming months”.

They are being told they are eligible for support from the project from Foundation Scotland, which is partnered with the OSCR to offer help.

“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,” said OSCR head of regulation and improvement Martin Tyson.

“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.”

It is estimated there are around 250 trusts in Scotland that meet the criteria for help, based on their account over the last five years.

OSCR policy manager Steve Kent added: “Short periods of inactivity are not uncommon for charities and the past 18 months has been an especially challenging time for all.

“But we are concerned where the lack of activity goes on for a long time and there is no obvious explanation.

“Trusts that have spent nothing or very little when compared to their income over a number of years may be experiencing difficulties that the trustees are unable to solve without help.”

The two-year Revitalising Trusts Project was announced in February.

In March the OSCR revealed that nearly one in five charities had suspended all their operations amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The proportion rose to one in four among smaller charities.

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