An investigation into the 4 Winds Trust by charity regulator OSCR was branded “utter nonsense” by 4 Winds Trust chairperson Stevie Murray at the Lochgelly Community Council AGM.

At the recent Lochgelly Community Council AGM held in December, 4 Winds Trust chairperson and secretary of Lochgelly Community Council, Stevie Murray made the astonishing statement about OSCR’s investigation and surrounding publicity in his end-of-year report to the council.

In 2016 the charity regulator conducted an investigation into the management of the 4 Winds Trust after the charity had failed to submit accounts within the legal timescales.

The investigation into the charity was expanded after the regulator received additional complaints into the management of the 4 Winds Trust which included:

  • That the charity was not keeping proper minutes of meetings which is in breach of its constitution.
  • That the charity was operating while inqorate, i.e. with four trustees instead of five as is required under the terms of the Constitution.
  • That the charity had not held an Annual Members Meeting as it is required to do under the terms of its Constitution.
  • That Community Councillors membership to the 4 Winds has never been acknowledged as per clauses 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the Constitution.
  • That the charity had failed to submit accounts to OSCR and the accounts were now well overdue.

All points of complaint were upheld. The regulator found the trustees responsible for serious and multiple breaches of charitable law.

Providing an update to Lochgelly community councillors, Mr Murray spoke about a former trustee resigning, which he blamed on information that came to public attention via Loch of Shining Waters, the Courier, the Central Fife Times and the Fife Free Press.

Mr Murray dismissed the publicity and information surrounding the investigation as “nonsense” before amplifying that it was all “utter nonsense”.

With the 4 Winds Trust keen to re-build public faith in the charity, steps were finally taken by the charity to publish their minutes in October, many months after the recommendations made by OSCR. It is likely that minutes were only published because of repeated public pressure from local residents and Loch of Shining Waters.

The offensive choice of words by the chairperson of the 4 Winds Trust is bound to raise a few eyebrows at OSCR where officers spent almost a year investigating the Trust and “helping” Mr Murray improve its governance.

How far have Mr Murray and the board he chairs understood the importance of charitable law? How far have they taken responsibility for the multiple breaches which have left many in the communities the charity is supposed to serve confused and disappointed?

Once again, Mr Murray has provided evidence that he is not fit to lead a charity responsible for dispensing £49,000 annually. Perhaps the four community councils for Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath, Auchtertool and Lumphinnans, who bear ultimate responsibility for the 4 Winds Trust, will use 2017 to find a credible chair.

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