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Carly Burd’s GoFundMe Page gives vital cash boost to Harlow charities (but three decide to turn money down)

Charity / Tue 16th Apr 2024 at 04:59pm

A NUMBER of leading Harlow charities have received a welcome cash boost from the GoFundMe set up by local resident Carly Burd.

Harlow Foodbank, The Bounty Club, Harlow Rock School and ASL Aspire Support Learn, Phoenix Live were all beneficiaries of £7,692 from the fund set up by Ms Burd in 2022.

As you may recall, the fund topped £254,213 after an alleged act of criminal damage at the Fold Croft allotment she was nurturing brought an outpouring of sympathy as well as financial donations from all over the world.

Over the last couple of days, Ms Burd has been calling on the organisations to present them with the money in the form of the traditional cheque.

The chief executive of the Michael Roberts Charitable Trust (MRCT) Andy Thornton was delighted that Ms Burd came to their base at Matching Tye to hand over the cheque.

Mr Thornton said: “This is so welcome right now! The cost of living crisis is hitting people’s ability to donate on a monthly basis, and need keeps going up.

This last few months we’ve had to spend between £3 – 5,000 for extra food to make sure anyone arriving at the Foodbank gets the standard parcel.

“This will help our neighbours big time.”

However, a number of other organisations have declined the offer

The Butterfly Effect Well Being, who many will remember featured on BBC’s DIY SOS issued a short statement.

A spokesperson said: “Our board has decided to decline the offer in light of recent events”.

The Potter Street and Church Langley Community Allotment said: “Although the Potter Street and Church Langley Community Garden has been listed as a recipient of funds the Board of Trustees has decided against accepting any funding”.

Homelessness charity Street2Homes also made the decision to decline the offer also referring to “taking into consideration the circumstances”.

It is clear that all the organisations have taken time to come to a decision and it looks like it hasn’t been an easy one.

Financial Challenges for Harlow Charities.

Harlow Foodbank has a series of challenges. As they stated, there is clearly great demand in the middle of a cost of living crisis. The fact that one of their offshoots, the Bounty Club, has taken over a large part of the BHS store in the Harvey Centre attests to that.

They also have wage bills. According to their accounts, in 2019 it was £112,000 (five employees). In 2023 it has ballooned to £271,000 (eight employees). That is not to say the £15,000 from the GoFundMe Page is going towards wages. It may be seen, however, as an illustration of one of the pressures on charities such as the Michael Robert Charitable Trust (MRCT).

Many will know ASL Aspire Support better as Bridgets . Many who have followed Michelle Tohill and her teams’s inspirational story will know of their tea room but there is so much more to it than that.

Their purpose is to offer permanent employment within their tea room, to adults with additional needs.

Keeping going has been a challenge for them. They now have a tea room in Stratford, East London and a pop up tea room in Hastingwood.

You also do wonder how the Harlow Rock School keep going? They have had a nomadic lifestyle until recently, when they were able to use the Katherines Common Room. But rent can be expensive. They are trying to fundraise and find sponsors for their concerts in the town park later this year.

This £7,692 will no doubt help. As will the £7,250 they received as the chair of Harlow Council’s charity last year. But it must be tough.

============

Meanwhile, we still await the outcome of Harlow Council’sfinal invitation for appropriate engagement with the council to understand what her current requirements are (re the Fold Croft allotment)”.

We still await a response from Ms Burd’s legal representatives (Whiskers) over a number of criticisms made by Ms Burd at the portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Nicky Purse.

As we stated in our last article, Ms Burd has stopped her food delivery service but is, we understand, set to launch her schools project.

Many may hope that after the recent donations of over £38,000, that the schools may benefit from what remains of the £254,213 given for the allotment project on Ms Burd’ GoFundMe Page, 

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32 Comments for Carly Burd’s GoFundMe Page gives vital cash boost to Harlow charities (but three decide to turn money down):

Sophie S
2024-04-16 20:35:23

What on earth have Harlow Rock School and ASL Aspire Support got to do with allotments and food parcels for those in food poverty in Harlow?! The public donated to help feed those in need in Harlow! What was the application and selection process? A post on Carly’s FB page, that only her loyal supporters can comment on, and a requirement that the organisation is a charity or C.I.C. I did not see any opportunity for the PUBLIC to vote on where the money would be spent! Madness, how can someone be allowed to raise money for something and then use it for something completely different? Is that legal or moral?

Chris
2024-04-16 22:23:45

Someone poured their heart out on tv, lying that someone poured salt all over the allotment to stop them growing vegetables. Now the truth as come out that there was no salt, fair play to those that refused the scammed money

Deborah Corella
2024-04-16 22:24:38

Seems like there's some conflicting signals here. On one side, we hear from Carly that food parcels are no longer needed because of the increase in benefits, yet Harlow Food Bank is still seeing a surge in need and demand. It really makes you wonder where Carly got her facts and figures, and what research she undertook, when she made her decision about stopping the food parcel delivery. Or could it possibly be that she just makes things up as she goes along? It's puzzling how she reached that conclusion despite reports of rising demand and the ongoing cost of living crisis 🧐 It’s also really concerning that Carly gave up on the community allotment idea without even attempting to negotiate the contract. She claims the contract is unworkable but she hasn't even tried to negotiate with them on the contract. This was the first draft of that contract and she, on the basis of that initial draft, has completely thrown the baby out with the bathwater and deprived the community of a valuable resource. Seems to me that Carly does what suits her, not what is needed by the community.

John
2024-04-17 06:51:46

So we have bona fide organised charities refusing to accept money from another charity because their due diligence has revealed something serious enough for them to make that decision. I would suggest that an investigation should be carried out, first by the Charity Commission, to establish exactly what information those charities have that led them to deciding to refuse the donations.

Derek harris
2024-04-17 08:27:10

The allotments at fold croft are run by Harlow allotment association and not by Carly burd the allotment site that is in question is the cannons gate allotments

Cherie P
2024-04-17 08:33:03

So as far as I understand the Butterfly affect HAVE in fact accepted the donation from Carly. Your Harlow have continued to raise unnecessary speculation by reporting a one sided, biased view. There WAS salt poured on the allotment, and for all those questioning Carly and her integrity.......perhaps it is the council you should be focusing your attention on, they have made things anything but easy for Carly.

Colin
2024-04-17 09:23:21

The Potter Street Health and Wellbeing Hub runs the Potter Street and Church Langley Community Garden is a registered charity and must abide by rules set out by the Charities Commission

Salty Sea Dog
2024-04-17 10:06:25

Cherie P - Ms. Burd won't answer simple questions around what the £250k+ has been spent on, in whose bank account it is held, and how much is actually left. Your Harlow have asked her multiple times and have been ignored. There's no good reason for her not to be transparent about this.

Bridge
2024-04-17 10:14:11

I have no doubt that those who refused the donations applied the rules of the Charity Commission and undertook due diligence to ensure that they maintained their integrity and fulfilled their obligations to their beneficiaries and the public. Given the questions surrounding Carly's activities and the recent outrageous accusations she has publicly made against local government officials, along with uncertainties about her moral and/or legal right to redistribute these funds, the Trustees no doubt felt it ill-advised to accept those donations. I am surprised at those registered charities who decided to accept the donations, but this is a matter for their Trustees to investigate. For those who wish to look into this further guidance is available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/65df4106b8da63b345c861e9/Chapter_2_Due_diligence_monitoring_and_end_use_of_funds.pdf and a tool to assist charities in their decision making process is available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a80e4e140f0b62305b8dbef/Tool_6.pdf

Novoman
2024-04-17 10:16:38

It doesn't take much salt to kill plants and it's soon washed away or the soil removed. All of Carly's projects look to be good ideas. Those who allege nefarious intent might reflect that had there been such then perpetrators would have salted away the donations via the practice of dissolving the charity or company. Many people, the Council and Councillors criticise but sit on their backsides rather than get up and volunteer help for community projects. The Council has a poor track record. Look at the trouble and grief the Council are heaping on Potter Street Community allotment project. Carly's projects show fundamentally good intentions and perhaps with more help the troubles, pitfalls and controversy would have been avoided. Those good projects who refuse the funds offered need to realise that accepting the funds would be more in tune with the intentions of those who donated cash to help communities and people. Far better accept than the money should be unspent.

Salty Sea Dog
2024-04-17 10:48:22

Novoman - Ms. Burd desperately needed help to turn her ideas into some sort of workable, sustainable reality. Unfortunately, she appears to have refused to let anyone else be involved and failed. No allotment, no food parcels, no school garden project, and no idea about where all the money has gone. It's an absolute disaster and a lesson for those who would throw their money at a crowdfund because some celebrity posted it on Twitter.

Kizzy
2024-04-17 11:17:25

Ms Burd may well have various ‘good ideas’, but they are managed atrociously and never actually come to fruition. According to Ms Burd’s version of events, there is always some organisation/person that is to blame; whether it's the service user, a community member, the local council, or the local newspaper, she consistently blames external factors for situations that she has created herself. Regarding the possibility of misusing funds on closure of the C.I.C., the regulations in place would ensure that any assets in the account would be transferred appropriately in the event of closure. The community's concerns regarding the use of funds are understandable, particularly as there is a complete refusal to confirm the amount of the initial transfer of funds into the CIC. Without clear information about the amount transferred, it's impossible for the public to assess the financial integrity of Ms Burd. This lack of transparency about financial matters merely fosters mistrust and suspicion. Other organisations also engage in discussions with the local council about their projects, but they do so responsibly and professionally. Unlike them, Ms Burd’s behaviour includes posting, and encouraging others to post, personal, defamatory and libellous comments about councillors on social media. Have you ever witnessed another reputable charitable body behave in such a way? I most certainly have not. It not only undermines the credibility of Carly's initiatives but also damages her relationships with the community.

Resident
2024-04-17 11:17:28

I don't understand what is going in here. So many conflicting stories but that is an incredible amount of money donated. Surely as a registered charity she needs to prove where the money has gone. These donations are tiny in comparison. It's a sad tale that will either put other people off from starting similar endeavours, if it's genuine, or put people off donating to small local charities. Either way it sounds like a proper investigation needs to be carried out and the findings published to stop all the rumours and suspicion once and for all. If it's above board then surely those involved would welcome any investigation.

Confused of Harlow
2024-04-17 12:13:26

Can Butterfly Effect confirm what their position is now? This confusion doesn't make Butterfly look good in my opinion.

Mrs Black
2024-04-17 12:18:02

All of these comments make it very confusing to make out exactly what has gone on. So many people making negative comments makes me wonder if their comments come from first hand knowledge or tittle tattle and gossip picked up from other publications about Ms Burd. Surely with the freedom of information act now there is a simple way of finding out exactly what IS going on. All I know of this person and charity has been from publications on here and none have been very good, however, how any charity especially streets to Homes in particular, can sit back and pick and choose where and how their donations come from is beyond me. Just something I was told last year by a housing official is that streets to Homes is part Harlow Council run!

Sophie S
2024-04-17 12:26:56

Mrs Black, it’s not just a question of charities picking and choosing who they receive donations from. It is a legal requirement that they follow due process and undertake due diligence. If that due diligence identifies any areas of concern then they have a legal responsibility to act on it, as pointed out above. Unfortunately, the FOI only applies to public authorities, it does not apply to private companies/charities

Stevekay
2024-04-17 12:36:09

Thats a crazy amount of money and who decides where it goes ? Where has it gone or going to ? Donations deserve to know where its gone or going and so does the community who donated.

Butterfly Effect
2024-04-17 13:31:21

I can confirm that Butterfly Effect have declined the money after talks with our board after recent events.

Deborah Corella
2024-04-17 13:53:30

Thank you for the clarification Butterfly Effect. I believe that the majority of the public completely understand your decision. I have just found out that Carly has allocated £7692 of the public’s donation to RootsPod Academy CIC, a company offering mentoring and coaching services to young people. The fees charged by RootsPod Academy CIC are significant, with a minimum course cost of £579 and £1,997 for one-to-one mentoring course. Donors intended their contributions to directly benefit those in food poverty in our local community, via the community allotment and food parcels. Her justification for redistributing funds to this company is that they provide lunch to those on the courses. However, I am sure that Roots Pod can afford to provide a sandwich lunch for students on their courses from the fees that they charge! This clearly demonstrates Carly’s lack of due diligence and unwillingness to involve the community and those who donated - I have no doubt that the public did not intend their donations to be used for this purpose. Harlow Foodbank, the Bounty Club and the Phoenix Resource Centre provide food to those in need, but other organisations she is redistributing the monies to have absolutely no impact on food poverty!

Kerrie Eastman
2024-04-17 15:27:00

@Mrs Black Streets2Homes is a registered charity and has a partnership with Harlow Council not part run by them, the same way S2H has partnerships with the NHS trust and many other organisations. Yes, the charity does need funding but we need to exercise due diligence and under these ambiguous circumstances unfortunately we could not accept.

Ken Horlaw
2024-04-17 16:34:44

Baffled by a couple of the recipients, especially the one that appears to sell courses for £579 apiece, they may be run as a CIC but that does NOT mean they are a charity! The two things are not equal! The British Public kindly donated this money after their hearts were captured with a tale of a community allotment project, that project has utterly failed for reasons that all come back to one individual, so the next best way to support and feed large numbers of people in Harlow should have been to give the full £254k to the Bounty club or similar. NOT to a salary paying organisation that only helps a handful of people that have been able to find substantial money to pay them. Quite unhappy about this shambles now.

Ken Horlaw
2024-04-17 16:51:38

By the way I'd still like to know when and where the public vote was for these recipients of the £100k. Because all I've ever seen is a couple of posts in the block-happy facebook group inviting names to be put forward, nothing else. So where was the vote?

Eddie
2024-04-18 05:57:07

It seems to me this quickly got far to big for Carly , and guessing she really did not know the legal side of it. I would also imagine she only got help until the novelty wore off . She may be giving money to worthy causes now , to get the whole problem off her back

Novoman
2024-04-18 08:22:09

Following the links to advice for charities given by an earlier contributor it seems that due diligence doesn't cover rumours and gossip. It does cover terrorist, money laundering and other such serious crimes. If Carly's project is a registered charity, CIC or company their will be annual reports and accounts available for inspection. If irregularities occur then The Charity Commission and or Companies House would be acting. If there's illegal activity then the police would be involved. It would appear that neither the Police nor Charity Commission nor Companies House are acting. There's transparency in the annual reports and accounts and no technical or criminal prosecutions taking place. A charity that's closing has the option to pass it's assets to charities that share it objects as written in it's constitution and if not closing if permitted in it's constitution, to make grants. Eddie may be right.

Ken Horlaw
2024-04-18 08:49:44

Eddie may well be right but nobody would have minded if Carly had taken a few percent of the huge amount of money that was kindly gifted to simply pay for proper professional legal and accounting services, to make sure everything was done correctly and efficiently (i.e. not take nine months claiming waiting for a driving licence, lol) and that a proper trustee/committee governance structure was in place, not one individual. None of the official reports that Novoman talks about are due yet (they will be soon enough though) and then we'll see what's gone on, in the meantime it would put a lot of fears to rest to simply get the in-town solicitors or YH to confirm that they've seen some ongoing accounts and all is well and the money is where it should be. This has been repeatedly and deliberately avoided and that's why people are suspicious, they simply do not want the general Harlow community to be short-changed out of what was gifted to them by the rest of the country.

Salty Sea Dog
2024-04-18 10:24:17

Why doesn't Ms. Burd just publish the CIC's latest bank statement and a list of expenditure to date? This would stop any further accusations and finger pointing (assuming all is above board) and is information that should be readily available. Besides, she's going to need that to support her accounts, what with the CIC's year end being at the end of the month.

Bridge
2024-04-18 14:26:22

While due diligence indeed encompasses considerations such as money laundering, you have over-simplified the guidance and regulations Novoman. It is also imperative that Trustees consider donor actions, negative publicity and reputational damage to their charities, as is explicitly outlined in the guidance and tools. Hence the reasons, no doubt, that three respected charities have refused her donation. I am sure that their experienced Board of Trustees are well versed in their duties. Regarding transparency in Annual Accounts, your point would hold merit if any such filings existed with Companies House. However, her first set of accounts are not due until 31 December 2024 and do not need to be filed until September 2025 (21 months after incorporation); it may well be too late for the community of Harlow to benefit from the public’s donations in the way that they intended by that point. I also have to point out that Carly's eventual filings will not detail financial transactions predating the C.I.C.'s formation in December 2023. Despite repeated requests for the information, the public remains uninformed about the exact amount transferred from Carly's sole control into the C.I.C in December 2023. Your mention of transparency is interesting, given Carly's lack of transparency and community involvement in decision-making, contributing to the current situation. The Charity Commission will not investigate complaints regarding Carly's C.I.C., as she is not a registered charity. It is a shame that she decided not to register as a charity (as detailed in her GoFundMe appeal) and instead chose to register as a Ltd Company and eventually transfer to a C.I.C; the public would have been assured of far greater oversight and compliance with regulations had she done so. Again, this would have avoided the current situation. I also have to point out that Companies House does not have investigative or prosecutorial powers. There are other regulatory bodies who may well be involved at the relevant stages. While Eddie's viewpoint has merit, Carly's refusal to accept assistance and guidance, even when offered, complicates matters. It is not the lack of advice or assistance, but Carly's refusal to heed it, that has contributed to the current situation.

Bridge
2024-04-18 14:41:31

As an addendum to my last comment - As she incorporated the Ltd company on 24th April 23 her accounts will be due on 30th April24, but do not need to be submitted until January 2025. Apologies, I had based my calculation on the date she incorporated as a C.I.C. and neglected to include the Ltd company formation, as it had effectively been dormant.

Chris
2024-04-18 15:09:29

The truth is she cried that her allotment was sabotaged due to someone spreading salt. This resulted in £0000s in donations pouring in for her cause. A local company took the top layer of soil and bagged it, left on site due to not knowing the what was in the soil. A soil specialist company to chemical samples of the bagged soil and ground soil. Nothing damaging was found in the samples and no evidence of salt. With these fact should the police not now investigate possible fraudulent activity?

Salty Sea Dog
2024-04-18 18:22:58

It wasn't even her allotment Chris! So many twists and turns in this whole sorry saga. Gary Lineker has a lot to answer for by uncritically promoting her GoFundMe, which is why we're where we are now.

Kizzy
2024-04-18 18:40:33

That is interesting information Chris and gives more detail to the questions regarding the soil testing. It appears, from the detail you have given, that the removed soil and the ground were tested at the time of the ”clean up” and that no harmful levels of salt were found. This does not surprise me as, when reviewing the videos of the alleged “salting” posted before the soil was removed, there was only a slight sprinkling of “salt” visible in some areas of the allotment; there does not appear to be sufficient to be able to taste salt in the air (as Carly claimed), nor to cause damage to the underlying soil.

rosa
2024-05-08 17:04:09

One of the entities which Carly gave this money to, Herts Meals 2022 CIC, is being struck off by Companies House for failing to file its accounts. A Meal on Me With Love's own confirmation statement (a legal document which it is an offence to fail to file) is currently overdue for filing.

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