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Ripon Community Link 'welcomes initial findings' from Charity Commission investigation

Members of the Ripon Community Link action group.
Members of the Ripon Community Link action group.

Ripon Community Link has welcomed the initial findings of a Charity Commission investigation into the charity’s financial management.

The Charity Commission has also been looking into the trustees’ handling of the withdrawal of services from 12 of the Link’s most severely disabled members.

Parents have previously spoken of lifelong friends being “wrenched apart” by the charity’s decision.

Ahead of the Charity Commission publishing their final report, the Chief Executive Officer of Ripon Community Link, Victoria Ashley, told the ‘Gazette this week: “Whilst the final report from the Charity Commission has yet to be issued, I am able to say we welcome the initial findings discussed during their visit, which include a number of action points for us to work to.

“We can now concentrate our efforts on steering this much-loved and valued charity forward. We have nothing further to add until the Charity Commissioner publishes their report.”

But a group which has been set up to represent families affected by Community Link’s cuts, maintain that “irreparable damage has been caused.”

In a statement, the Ripon Community Link and Walled Garden action group said: “Regrettably, irreparable damage has been caused to the reputation and the trust that people have in the charity.”

The Charity Commission’s decision to investigate came after mounting pressure from Ripon City Council and families who have been devastated by the sudden cuts to Community Link’s services.

A Charity Commission spokesperson told the ‘Gazette yesterday: “Our regulatory compliance case into Ripon Community Link remains ongoing. We are unable to comment further at this time or say when it might conclude.”

At the start of their investigation, the spokesperson said: “The Commission is aware of serious concerns about Ripon Community Link.

“We have a regulatory compliance case open to look into the financial management of the charity and the trustees’ handling of the withdrawal of services.”