Charity Commission investigates actors’ fund over governance concerns

The Charity Commission has opened a compliance case into The Actors’ Benevolent Fund after concerns were raised about its governance.

The regulator said it was responding to reports it had received about the charity, which supports actors who are experiencing financial hardship due to old age, injury or illness.

The Times claimed that several trustees left the charity after an online board meeting in February, including the actors Penelope Keith and James Bolam and the former children’s TV presenter Dawn Keeler.

Keith, who had been chair of trustees for three decades, told The Times that she had informed the charity’s patron, Prince Charles, about recent events.

She said she had written to Prince Charles to let him know “there was a bit of trouble at mill”.

The Actors’ Benevolent Fund has an endowment fund of about £32m.

It has spent just over £1m in each of the past five years, according to its filings with the Charity Commission, while its income from membership fees and sales fell from £2m to £1.5m in 2019/20.

Keith said the fund’s problems had been exacerbated by meetings being held remotely during the past two years, instead of monthly in-person gatherings.

A commission spokesperson said: “We have an ongoing case into The Actors’ Benevolent Fund, and we are assessing concerns reported to us about the charity’s governance.”
The charity has been asked to comment.

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