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Would you support a charity like The Angelus Foundation?

For legal reasons, I have to be quite careful about what I write today. But I’d like to introduce you to charity No 1139830 – The Angelus Foundation

The Angelus Foundation was founded in 2009 by Maryon Stewart, a health practitioner, author and broadcaster. Her 21 year-old daughter Hester, a medical student and athlete, passed away after consuming a legal high (GBL) in April 2009. The Foundation has since attracted a group of experts, which make up the Angelus Advisory Board. They bring together expertise from chemical, medical and behavioural sciences, as well as having considerable knowledge and experience in the areas of enforcement and misuse of substances.

Our Mission Statement – To help society understand the dangers of ‘legal highs’ (new psychoactive substances), to reduce the harm they cause to young people and their families, and to save lives.

Our Aims and Objectives – We aim to become the acknowledged expert and knowledge centre on the subject of the dangers of legal highs and to maximise public understanding of the risks.

So far, so good.

After seeing Maryon Stewart being interviewed on the TV, I had a quick look at the financial accounts of this charity. I’m not a beancounter, so I may well have completely misunderstood what the accounts were showing. But here’s what I understood:

The Angelus Foundation spent only £137,673 of the £235,609 raised in 2012 on what the accounts classed as ‘charitable activities’. That’s just 58 per cent of its income. A year later in 2013 it used £140,974 on ‘charitable activities’ out of £296,975 raised – only 47 per cent of its income.

However, within ‘charitable activities’ were things like ‘admin support’ – £23,182 in 2012 and £25,155 in 2013 and ‘fundraising expenses’ – £9,163 in 2012 and £8,906 in 2013. The administrative assistant is an employee of the founder’s company and the ‘fundraising expenses’ included under ‘charitable activities’ were in addition to the £85,000 paid in 2012 and £155,020 used in 2013 as ‘costs of generating funds’. The ‘charitable activities’ also included ‘travel’ £9,737 in 2012 and £7,172 in 2013 and ‘rent’ paid to the founder – £6,000 in each year

Many other charities class items such as admin support, rent and fundraising expenses as running costs rather than, as in this case, ‘charitable activities’. Moreover, in 2012, the charity’s founder was paid £47,186 in ‘consultancy fees’ and another £49,800 ‘consultancy fees’ in 2013. The charity classed these ‘consultancy fees’ as ‘charitable activities’ and they accounted for 34 per cent of charitable spending in 2012 and 35 per cent of charitable spending in 2013 (click on chart to see more clearly)

angelus

Now, some people will feel it is absolutely right that someone putting the effort into setting up a charity should be rewarded for their time and contribution. Moreover, there may even be people who believe these ‘consultancy fees’ should be permitted to be classed as ‘charitable activities’ by both the auditors and the Charity Commission. However, there may be others who would feel a sense of unease if they knew just how much of the donated money was paid out to this charity’s founder each year in consultancy fees under the heading ‘charitable activities’.

My brief look at the accounts of this charity suggests that only about £1.69 of every £10 raised was really being used for what I would consider genuine charitable activities. But I’m not an accountant and so could be wrong.

I wonder how many of Britain’s 190,000+ charities are using their money in a similar way to the Angelus Foundation?

2 comments to Would you support a charity like The Angelus Foundation?

  • MGJ

    I’d just like to say thank you for your efforts over the past year. I look forward to my daily ‘Snouts’.

    Thanks also to the other contributors – there have been many excellent comments which I have also enjoyed reading.

  • Keen Reader

    I endorse your comment, MGJ. Only this morning I was having a good beef with a neighbour about all that is wrong now in the UK and how the England of our youth has gone to pot thanks to troughing politicians whose sole interest is their own short-term advancement and the pensions they can draw at our expense after they’ve brought our country to its knees. I told him about your site; I know he will relish it! Keep up the good work. On a more serious note, I think you have great courage to post the views you do, views which are shared by an enormous number of UK residents, under your own name. I, I freely admit, lack the courage to do likewise; in my own interests and that of my large family, I preserve my anonymity by responding to your blogs under a nom-de-keyboard!
    Just what does that say about Free Speech today in the UK?

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