PRESS STATEMENT: From Judicial Factor of Wick Academy Development Fund

French Duncan | 07 December 2021


 

THREE CHARITIES TO BENEFIT FROM CLOSURE OF WICK ACADEMY DEVELOPMENT FUND

Three registered charities Wick Youth Club, Pulteneytown People’s Project and High Life Highland are to receive a share of the funds formerly held by Wick Academy Development Fund for use in Wick area following a decision by the Judicial Factor and approval by the Court.

Eileen Blackburn, of French Duncan LLP, was appointed in January 2021 by the Court of Session as Judicial Factor of registered Scottish charity Wick Academy Development Fund (SC032787). This appointment came at the request of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) in order to protect the property of the Charity which comprised a significant bank balance which had been raised within the local community in order to further the Charity’s purposes but which had not been providing public benefit.

Since January, Ms Blackburn’s team have been following the judicial process. This included responsibility for carrying out investigations into the charity’s financial affairs, interviewing the Trustees and reviewing the books and records of the company as well as addressing correspondence received from the local community. Research was carried out to establish registered charities who were eligible for the distribution of funds held in a manner that best fits the Charity’s original purposes for the benefit of projects in Wick area.

In order to encourage the community to engage, an advert was placed by the Judicial Factor in a local newspaper inviting local registered charities who qualified to contact the judicial factor’s office. A total of 15 registered charities applied to be considered. In addition to this, there were 19 notes of interest received from worthy charities in the community who were not registered. The three successful registered organisations who met the original charitable objectives of the Wick Academy Development Fund will receive their funds shortly to be utilised solely for projects within the Wick area.

Eileen Blackburn, Judicial Factor, said: “Closing down a charitable organisation is never an easy process, and since our appointment I and my team have been acutely aware of the interest in this matter. The funds previously raised had however been raised from the local population, and therefore handing them over to three charities who will directly support the local community is an important final step.”

Maureen Mallon, Chief Executive of OSCR said: “After an extensive inquiry, last year we directed the charity trustees of the Wick Academy Development Fund not to distribute or otherwise part with any funds belonging to the Charity without our consent. We took this action as we concluded that there was no realistic prospect of activities being undertaken by the charity trustees in furtherance of the Charity’s objects. That’s why went to the Court of Session to appoint a Judicial Factor to manage the affairs of the Charity, and ensure that the substantial funds raised between 2002 and 2009 were properly invested in registered charities delivering in the local community according to the charity’s constitution.”

“We’re delighted that this process is now complete, and that the people of Wick will at last see the benefit of this significant investment.”

The three charities to receive support are:

A copy of OSCR’s report on Wick Academy Development Fund can be found at: https://www.oscr.org.uk/media/4070/2021-01-08-updated-s33-report-wick-academy-development-fund.pdf

- ENDS -

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