An inquiry into the Moss Side and Hulme Community Development Trust has this week found the charity wrongly paid its chairman £56,000.
According to the Charity Commission, accounts for the community organisation – based in the Windrush Millennium Centre in the inner-city suburb of Moss Side – claimed it helped some 400 people at a cost of £60,000 per year, but its ITC Learning Centre had been closed since 2015 and trustees held no records of charitable work.
It was thus unable to provide any evidence of such activities.
The charity told the inquiry it trained and empowered unemployed people, and assisted those affected by the Windrush Scandal, with chairman Hartley Hanley – one of two trustees, the other being Mike Bisson – also stating the trust had not received any public funds.
But the commission found that payments totalling £56,000 had been made to Mr Hanley without authority for acting as the charity’s CEO.
Accounts show he was paid £17,500 in 2013, £18,500 in 2014, and £20,000 in 2015.
The commission report concluded: “The charity’s governing document explicitly prohibits trustee remuneration for the supply of work or goods to the charity,”
The commission also told of how the organisation’s annual report for 2015 said its ITC Learning Centre had “assisted over 400 local people at a cost in excess of £60,000 per annum”, but Mr Bisson told the commission during an interview in 2018 that “the centre may have been closed since 2015”.
Mr Hanley confirmed in 2019 that “the centre had not been used since 2015 or 2016”.
The report found that the men “were not able to evidence the £60,000 expenditure for the centre,” and in addition, “the charity held no records to evidence its charitable activities”.
A failure to submit accounts to the commission is categorised as “a criminal offence”.
The commission confirmed to the BBC that it has declined to refer the matter to the police however, stating: “We did not make a referral to the police, as on this occasion we took action to remedy the governance shortcomings at the charity and hold the trustees to account on the delivery of these actions [but] we are continuing to monitor the charity.”
Mr Hanley and Mr Bisson have both declined to publicly comment further on the findings of the enquiry.
The full report can be found via the gov.uk website here.
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”