REGULATOR TAKES CONTROL OF LONG RUNNING EDINBURGH ‘LGB PROJECT’

A charity set up to support LGBT+ people in Edinburgh over 20 year ago is under investigation following allegations of misconduct.

‘The Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Community Project Ltd (SC024473)’, which owns property at 58A and 60 Broughton Street in Edinburgh as well as office premises elsewhere in the city, has had a Judicial Factor appointed by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) after the resignation of its only active trustee.

According to an interim report published by OSCR in recent days, the regulator says it has uncovered “misconduct in the administration of the charity” after reviewing the accounts for the period to 30th June 2017 and upon investigating a change in the charitable purpose of the organisation on 15th June 2015, which were adopted by the charity without the required consent of OSCR under the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.

Of concern to the regulator were loans made to a charity trustee, management charges being made to a trustee and the use of property owned by the organisation.

The accounts for the charity are also significantly overdue, with both the 17/18 and 18/19 annual submissions being outstanding.

The charity owns the basement office and the cafe space above at 58A Broughton Street, where the popular Cafe Nom De Plum has been situated for a number of years. The office space is used by Pride Edinburgh as well as being a meeting place for local LGBT+ organisations.

The ‘Edinburgh LGBT Centre’ is the former base for Gay Scotland, a periodical publication from the 1970’s and 80’s, with the cafe space above being the HQ of the Scottish Minorities Group until it became the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group in 1978. The facility has had links with the Scottish LGBT community for decades.

A representative for Aver Accountants, who have been appointed as Judicial Factor, said their investigation was “ongoing” but could lead to the charity being wound up.

According to HMRC records which are publicly available, the charity reported assets with a value of over £200,000 in the last submission back in 2017. No update has been posted since then.

We’ve reached out to those connected with the charity, including FitLads owner Peter McDougall and Pride stalwart, John Hein.

Mr Hein said he was recovering from serious illness during the period referenced but would provide any information needed by the Judicial Factor.

Mr McDougall did not respond to our attempts to contact him.

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