LAMH Recycle Motherwell

lamh-logoA story regarding LAMH Recycle from Motherwell, Scotland was brought to our attention recently. It’s been ongoing since November 2014 and is continuing today. This story shows what happens when charities get greedy and go wrong.

Mr John McArthur used to work for LAMH Recycling (a social enterprise charity) on a work scheme and was paid the minimum wage. He was forced to go back there to work without pay for six months by the job centre on a workfare scheme. As he refused he was sanctioned and was left with no money.

For almost three months, Mr McArthur has spent two hours each weekday morning parading outside the LAMH building in Motherwell wearing a placard reading: “Say no to slave labour” (See photo and story in Guardian).

The prevention or relief of poverty???

In Mr McArthur’s case LAMH Recycle are breaking their first objective: The prevention or relief of poverty. This is not an impoverished charity as their last submitted accounts show almost £500,000 income (see here). So why would they be so anxious to benefit from the human suffering that is the workfare programme and sanctions? The answer can only be greed.

If you look at their website they have removed the list of their funders from their ‘Our Funders‘ page. There is also no hint of a location for their annual report. What have they got to hide? Could it be that they receive funding from the local council who have pledged not to be involved in the workfare scheme? Are other funders embarrassed?

North Lanarkshire Council passed a motion in October strongly objecting to forced employment schemes saying it would not get involved itself.

“This council will not provide jobs or placements without pay as a condition of receiving benefits unless it is truly voluntary,” the motion read.

We do not support any mandation of unemployed people to work without pay that puts their benefits at risk.”

Are the council funding workfare and sanctions by supporting LAMH Recycling?

Workfare destroys the notion of volunteering. Rumour has it that LAMH are refusing to take on genuine volunteers in favour of capitalising on the money received through the workfare scheme.

Joe Fulton, LAMH Recycle operations and development manager, was quoted as saying he believed the scheme “worked for people who want to make it work for them”. Given that quote, I guess the board and directors of LAMH don’t particularly care that their support for the scheme is leading to people starving and going without heat.

The punishing workfare scheme cannot work without the support of charities like LAMH Recycle. The DWP has confirmed some of the UK’s biggest charities, including the British Heart Foundation, Scope, Banardo’s, Sue Ryder, and Marie Curie had withdrawn from the workfare scheme, causing a significant loss of placements.

Disabled Forced To Work For Free

From 3 December 2012, job centre and work programme case managers have had the power to stop the benefits of those claiming the employment and support allowance (ESA), who do not agree to mandatory work placements. Those in the ESA work-related-activity group include cancer patients, stroke victims and people with mental health issues.

Forcing the disabled to work has been the last straw for many charities who are now refusing to participate in workfare schemes. LAMH Recycle seem happy to ignore public opinion and continue to ruthlessly exploit the sick, disabled and unemployed on workfare programmes to make money.

Compassion and Workfare

LAMH Recycle claim to be a compassionate charity and provide work opportunities for people with mental health issues and other disadvantaged groups. This does not seem to include compassion for those who are sick, disabled and unemployed.

For more on the workfare scheme see: Boycott Workfare.

We will update this story when we find out who funds LAMH Recycle.

UPDATE 24th Feb 2015: LAMH are still refusing to publish their funders on their website. However, we’re reliably informed that LAMH received £453,608 in a lottery grant in December 2013 – something smells very rotten here.

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Salvation Army Xmas Appeal

sally ann logoThe Salvation Army Xmas Appeal has been appearing on TV and dropping through our letter boxes recently. It must have cost a small fortune.

As a former donor, the Salvation Army sent me a Christmas card and a personal letter asking for money with the headline:

Our greatest wish this Christmas is that no one should be homeless, hungry or lonely. Please help us do all we can to make it come true.

They make no mention in the letter that they are actively making the misery of homelessness, hunger and loneliness more common by participating in the government workfare sanctions imposed on the disabled, sick and vulnerable who are forced to work in their shops. These workfare sanctions can often lead to benefit cuts of up to three years long and in many cases sanctions have led to the death of vulnerable people.

They should be forced to declare an interest here as they make money from these workfare schemes that force benefit claimants (many of whom are sick and disabled) to work in their shops.

The Salvation Army claim they don’t use workfare but see this previous story here, that proves that they do.

They just don’t get it and until they do they will not be getting any of my funds.

Remember if you really want to help the homeless, hungry and lonely there are lots of local charities in your area who do fantastic work without exploiting vulnerable people. (see boycott workfare site to check your chosen charity don’t use workfare)

The SA had an income of £181 million last year. (See here)

When will enough be enough for them.

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What’s Wrong With Charity?

Whats wrong with charity - Tim WatkinsRecently we had the pleasure of reviewing Tim Watkins book; What’s Wrong With Charity?: How modern charity practices are undermining our communities, democracy and public trust.

Charity – the voluntary giving of one’s time or money to alleviate suffering, to improve the conditions of our fellows for the common good – has been a key element of civil society for centuries. However, at the beginning of the 21st century a series of scandals has created growing unease about contemporary charities.

The book sets out why we need to examine the system that creates fraud and mismanagement rather than treating each case as if it were solely caused by corrupt or incompetent individuals.

The book, using many examples, confirms our thoughts on what’s wrong with the charity sector today, including: The difficulty of regulation and the abuses that this can cause, the growth in paid employees and the salaries that are paid to the top executives, the reliance and influence of corporate funders and charities behaving like businesses. The author ends by posing the question: Is it time to change the model? Let’s hope this book starts the debate.

In our opinion one of the best quotes from the book sums up our ethos:

If we want to build the ideal of charity – of communities voluntarily and altruistically looking after our own – then we need to work together to change the model. And if this makes the people who run and work for charities uncomfortable; good! The role of anyone who runs or works for a charity must be to make themselves redundant by solving the problem for which they were established.

The author makes some good points and sticks with what he knows as the book is England and Wales centric. Perhaps there’s a space for a Scottish Edition as there has been many criticisms of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and many examples of charity fraud, sometimes on a huge scale.

If you want to know what’s wrong with charity today then get your copy here.

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Save The Children & Blair

save-the-children-logoSave The Children (STC) has now lost all credibility as a charity by awarding Tony Blair (the man responsible for catapulting Britain into the 2003 Iraq war) a global legacy award.

Almost 200 STC staff members have written an internal letter protesting the award,  including senior regional staff. The letter said the award was not only “morally reprehensible, but also endangers our credibility globally”, and called for it to be withdrawn. See Guardian article.

The move has also raised questions about Save the Children’s integrity and independence because of close links between the former British prime minister and key figures at the charity’s helm.

Its UK chief executive, Justin Forsyth, was a special adviser to Blair for three years, and Jonathan Powell, Blair’s former chief of staff, is currently on the board of STC.


Tony Blair

An online petition calling for STC to revoke the award said many saw Blair “as the cause of the deaths of countless children in the Middle East”. It has gathered more than 88,000 signatures already.

Sign the petition here.

UK Chief Executive Forsyth’s salary came under scrutiny last year when it was disclosed that he was paid £163,000 a year, including more than £22,000 in performance-related pay. He has since taken a pay cut to £140,000.

Update 28th November 2014: Petition now at 115,000 signatures.

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Lord Freud’s Jecda Foundation

Lord FreudRecent accounts show that the Jecda Foundation – run by Welfare Minister Lord Freud and his family – gave out just £37,000 last year. This was just a fraction of what it spends on the US stock market.

The Jecda Foundation plans to spend even less in the next 12 months – earmarking only £12,000 for a single project, according to its latest accounts.

In contrast the charity has spent £250,000 in a “dollar tracker fund” in the US stock market and saw the value of another investment soar by almost £350,000.

Records (filed with the Charity Commission) reveal Jecda, which claims its objective is “poverty relief”, received £5,000 more in dividends from its investments and shares than it spent on worthy schemes it backed.

This is the same Lord Freud who refused to quit after suggesting people with mental disabilities were “not worth” the minimum wage and could be paid £2 an hour.

Read more at the Daily Mirror website

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Salvation Army Care Home

sally ann logoA reader sent this letter to Charity Watch UK about the Salvation Army and the care of her Mother at one of their care homes…

I would like to draw attention to the recent disgraceful episode at one of their care homes, where they have recently asked six of their residents with dementia to leave. Those asked to leave were their most needy ‘high dependency’ residents some of whom had been there for many years and had no alternative but to regard it as home.

My Mum was one of these six ‘high dependency’ residents and had been with them for four and a half years. She was by this time in advanced stages of Alzheimers but her main ‘dependency’ was on requiring two carers to help her from a chair and to aid her walking and occasionally two of them to help with personal care. She had no physical health problems that required any help beyond the remit of a district nurse and a registered ‘EMI’ home. A recent inspection (February) however required that the care home would need to staff up to meet the needs of their existing residents – they elected instead to offload almost half of those in the dementia unit. Yet the day I cleared my Mum’s room I noticed that the land next to the care home – gifted to Salvation Army by a local philanthropist – had been sold off to a developer to accommodate 40 houses. So much for ‘not for profit’ christian values!

In fact, my Mum died on the day she was due to move (Tuesday April 22). She had been unwell for about a fortnight and in bed since the Friday morning – it was only on the Sunday that I got confirmation, on returning home from an Easter holiday, that they agreed with me that Mum was not fit to travel the coming week to the new care home I had chosen. Mum was ‘lucky’ – she died in her familiar surroundings with myself/ the kind faces of care staff who had consistently shown consideration and concern. She did not have to face the 100 mile journey to a near residential home near my home in London, or be cared for by a new set of strangers. Another of the ousted residents was not so ‘lucky’ – she died at the breakfast table at her new home, the day after she was moved.

I am unhappy with the organisation and the decision-making process that meant my vulnerable Mum and others like her were being forced to leave their home at the most difficult time of their lives. BUT I need to emphasise that prior to this my Mum received loving and attentive care of a high standard for four and a half years. It is NOT its staff – or manager.

I am disappointed in those at the helm of the Salvation Army who clearly do not take their responsibility to their so-called “EMI’ registered homes seriously.

People like Mum have no voice at all.

I sent a message to Salvation Army headquarters re my unhappiness at Mum’s treatment and have not received any response at all apart from a general acknowledgement ending God Bless…

The writer wishes to remain anonymous.

If you have any stories about organisations behaving badly, who should know better, then let us know.

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Sue Ryder Care Waste £100,000

sue-ryder-logoA care centre’s controversial plans to build a new £8m facility on part of an ancient woodland have been withdrawn.

Cuerden Hall, in Cuerden Valley Park, run by the Sue Ryder Care charity, unveiled its plans for the development in the setting of its grounds.

But objectors were outraged and a campaign – with the website helping to lead the protest – was launched. Now the charity has shelved the scheme.

Read more here in the Lancashire Evening Post. The comments are interesting.

Why would Sue Ryder Care try to get planning permission to build on ancient woodland? The answer perhaps is found when perusing the Director of Property, Stephen Brimfield’s Bio on their website (here).  One of his main roles is:

…seeking to maximise the value of our estate by seeking valuable planning permissions

It has been suggested that the application, consultant fees and commissioned reports has cost the charity £100,000. Money that could and should have been spent on care.

The Sue Ryder Organisation takes another hit to its reputation as once again the dedicated, hard-working and poorly paid staff of a national charity have been let down by those who are paid to supposedly know better.


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