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Revitalising Trusts Project – first charities contacted

06 Sep 2021

OSCR has this week written to the first charities identified through the Revitalising Trusts Project because they appear to be dormant or show evidence of very little activity over the past five years.

Eight charitable trusts have been selected from the first group looked at with more to follow over the coming months. The letter advises them that they are eligible for help from the Project and that they will be referred to Foundation Scotland, with whom OSCR is collaborating to provide the support.

OSCR’s Head of Regulation and Improvement, Martin Tyson, explained:

 ‘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. 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.’

OSCR estimates that there are around 250 trusts on the Scottish Charity Register that meet the criteria for support from the Project, based upon accounts and returns made to OSCR over the past five years. They are being divided into smaller groups and looked at a batch at a time before deciding whether to contact them.

As OSCR’s Policy Manager, Steve Kent, explained:

 ‘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.’

To coincide with the release of the first letters, OSCR has updated the FAQs on its website which provide more information about the Project.