IMPORTANT NEWS FROM THE TRUSTEES
Further to previous statements, the trustees of Men Get Eating Disorders Too have become aware of a series of untruthful accounts in the public domain which are potentially damaging to the charity. The trustees feel that it is necessary to present the factual account of actions which have resulted in the removal of Mr Thomas.
First of all, the trustees would like to state that they were made aware of Mr Thomas’s health issues prior to taking position on the board (as invited by Mr Thomas himself). A constant supportive and accommodating environment was accordingly provided. Mr Thomas himself hired a temporary part-time PA to support the administration of the charity whilst he received inpatient treatment – treatment which Mr Thomas declined on numerous occasions. The trustees have acted with nothing but empathy and kind regard in relation to Mr Thomas’s battle with unwellness – something any caring and compassionate individuals would do. However, a serious discovery and other activities, presented the trustees with a challenge requiring legal responsibilities to be called into action.
According to the Charity Commission, trustees are “responsible for [the] charity’s money…should have effective processes for handling money, to help avoid poor decisions and accidental errors, as well as theft and fraud. Failure to do so is likely to result in a breach of [trustee] duty. [Trustees] should: • set a budget and keep track of it • put in place clear policies and procedures to deal with income and expenditure • ensure the charity keeps accurate records of income and expenditure • have robust and effective financial controls in place • protect the charity from financial crime such as theft or fraud…If something does go wrong, [trustees] should inform the Commission and (if appropriate) the police.”
The trustees, as in their required legal duties, checked the financial accounts of the charity and were justly prompted to seek further explanations as to the questionable spending, in the thousands, identified on the account. Mr Thomas was given an opportunity at a board meeting in April to explain such transactions. He proffered no valid reasonable explanation for the unwarranted spending. In order to protect the charity’s monies, the charity’s debit card was removed from Mr Thomas and he was also informed that, under the responsibilities as laid down by the Charity Commission, the trustees had no alternative but to report the matter to the appropriate bodies.
The trustees were instructed to conduct an internal audit – the findings of which revealed evidence of long-standing inappropriate spending of the charity’s monies. Following advice and guidance from legal representatives and the Charity Commission, another meeting was arranged to speak with Mr Thomas – a meeting he refused to attend. The trustees, in accordance with their duties, having fulfilled all required obligations, had no alternative but to dispense with Mr Thomas’s services as a freelance worker for, and also remove him from, the charity in order to protect the charity from further harm.
To reiterate, the trustees of Men Get Eating Disorders Too acted under their legal obligations. There was no ‘ego’, ‘takeover’ or anything else involved. Trustees are entrusted to take care of the charity which includes ensuring financial security and safety.
The trustees have received an unacceptable amount of abuse for merely doing their job as required by the Charity Commission. However, if such abuse and untruths do not cease, the trustees will not hesitate to seek legal support.
This has been an extremely stressful experience for the trustees who continue to work tirelessly in their legal responsibilities to the charity and to make sure continuing support is given to males with eating disorders.
It is hoped that this statement, which the trustees had never intended to put in the public domain, will put the matter to rest once and for all.
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Next date: Our next live chat 1-2-1 sessions is under review at the present time.
Live chat 1-2-1 is offers peer support to male sufferers, their carers and family members. Sessions will take place on Wednesday evenings, 7-8.30pm GMT. Keep an eye out for updates for when sessions will re-commence.
For information and support at other times please email us via the contact form.
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