Team to fight on after losing charitable status
Last updated at 13:50, Saturday, 07 April 2012
A LIFE-SAVING charity has vowed to fight on, despite facing the loss of its official status.
By Gareth Jones
South Lakes Search and Rescue was officially dissolved by Companies House on Tuesday after it failed to submit details of its finances.
And now the group faces losing its official charitable status.
The Charity Commission, which regulates the administration and affairs of registered UK charities, has said the group cannot remain on the register.
A Charity Commission spokeswoman also confirmed a previous complaint had been received about SLSAR’s finances, but was not taken forward due to insufficient evidence.
She said: “The Charity Commission has previously received a complaint concerning the financial management of South Lakes Search and Rescue (registered charity number 1139529).
“However, as there was insufficient evidence to support this complaint, we did not take it forward.
“As the charity has now been dissolved at Companies House, it has ceased to exist and cannot remain on the Register of Charities. We will therefore be contacting the charity’s trustees regarding its dissolution and removal from the register.”
Companies House confirmed to the Evening Mail that the company had been dissolved.
A spokesman said: “This company was dissolved as of April 3, and hence it ceases to exist.”
When contacted by the Evening Mail, chairman of SLSAR, County Councillor Peter Hornby, for Ulverston East, denied there was a problem.
He said: “We’ve just sorted it this morning (Thursday). Andrea (Nicholls) was talking to the Charity Commission this morning.”
But yesterday, Andrea Nicholls, co-ordinator and fundraising trustee for the group, confirmed the Charity Commission had been in touch.
She said: “I heard from the Charity Commission at 4.27pm on Thursday via email.
“This is the first correspondence we have had and it was effectively saying that they had been made aware of the Companies House decision.
“This wasn’t about our accounts, but that we failed to submit an annual return form.
“We haven’t heard from Companies House since last week. Effectively, I have dealt with one individual who advised me that we would have to send in an RTO1 form which would reverse the dissolution.”
SLSAR was informed it has 15 days to contact the Charity Commission to respond to the decision.
Mrs Nicholls said the failure to submit the form had been an innocent mistake, and that the charity would learn from it.
She said: “SLSAR will not go down. The last two years have simply been a learning curve for us.
“We are looking to strengthen the management team, but we have a fantastic group of people and we have become a family.”
And Mrs Nicholls also responded to criticisms levelled at the group. She said although the team has only taken part in two live incidents since it was set up, the last two years have been about training the team to ensure it is prepared to take part in swiftwater rescue missions, such as the 2009 floods.
She said that every penny the group had received had come from funding bodies, and had been invested in equipment such as defibrillators and a second-hand Land Rover.
She also stressed that the group has nothing to do with Ulverston Inshore Rescue, although they value the work the team does.
First published at 10:38, Saturday, 07 April 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Further update for your readers .companies house are still awaiting slsar accounts which are now overdue by 1 month? Let's hope their financial officer has posted them by recorded delivery to ensure their safe arrival.It would also be nice If slsar chairman councillor Horby could reply through your paper on this subject of his present companies position and that of its removal as a charity from the charities commissions records.
It was a good idea, which just didn't work. They were a very young team and in an area such as the Lakes, where age-old Mountain Rescue teams rule, it was always going to be an uphill battle to be accepted. They didn't help themselves either, for various reasons. Another SAR team could and should have been an asset and assisted the existing teams in the area. It wasn't, and they didn't. Now, they need to issue an official statement, stating that the team has fully disbanded and explaining what will become of the remaining equipment and funds. Only then can South Lakes Search and Rescue truly be laid to rest.
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