It's been a controversial period for Salford charity, Inspiring Communities Together (ICT), during which community concerns have come to a head about the way it spends £90,000 of public money, a legacy of the £53million Charlestown and Lower Kersal project which ended in 2011.
Last December, members, the ICT Chair, Ray Walker, and local councillor Stephen Ord spoke out in the Salford Star about the state of the charity, with the councillor accusing the previous Chair and the CEO... "It would appear they have acted out of greed; power grabbing control freaks and self interest on a number of occasions..." (see previous Salford Star article – click here)
Since then, East Salford Community Committee has demanded answers on the running of the charity from Salford City Council, which is accountable for the £90,000 (see here). And ICT member, Graham Cooper, protested outside the organisation's offices at Salford Innovation Forum, complete with a gag to highlight how, as a whistleblower on ICT's activities, the charity had attempted to silence him (see here).
When Graham Cooper turned up at ICT's Annual General Meeting last week, he was met with three bouncers employed by ICT to keep him out (see here)
At that AGM, Graham was eventually allowed access and the members voted in a new Chair, Mike Duddy, who has since been meeting all sides to try and calm things down. Today, he told the Salford Star that an independent mediator will be brought in to investigate ICT, while confirming that he will be present at the next meeting of East Salford Community Committee to answer any questions from the community.
Mike Duddy also issued a formal statement today, acknowledging 'a difficult period of development', appreciating that 'we will not always get things right', arguing that there has been `no evidence of corruption', and explaining that members should `try to work together to find positive solutions'. He also gives his email for anyone wanting to 'discuss concerns'.
The full statement reads...
"The Board of Trustees of Inspiring Communities Together (ICT) would like to take
this opportunity to thank all those who have offered support during the past few
months whilst the organisation has been through a difficult period of development.
Some members of the organisation have become frustrated about some of the
methods of working adopted by ICT and have chosen to use social media to air
those frustrations - the Board have rightly taken the decision to conduct their
business through their own policies and procedures rather than join in the
conversation through social media.
Throughout this period there has been no evidence that any trustee or member of staff has acted in an unlawful or corrupted way. The organisation is accountable not only to its members but to the Charity Commission and our funders including Salford City Council and neither of these organisations have given any indication that the organisation is not acting in accordance with the regulations set by them.
As the newly elected Chair of ICT I appreciate that as a small Charity we will not
always get things right but I can assure the membership, our stakeholders and
funders that the Board of Trustees are always happy to discuss concerns with people and try to work together to find positive solutions. I can be contacted via
I have already met with some of you to discuss your concerns and hope that over the
next few months we can all start to work together for the benefit of the residents of
Charlestown and Lower Kersal and support our staff team to continue to deliver the
positive work many of you heard about during our recent Annual General Meeting.
Please follow this link to discover more about the great work ICT carries out in
The trustees would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for their continued
commitment to delivering a quality service during this difficult time and conducting
themselves in a professional manner whilst working out in the community. The
commitment and integrity of all our staff has never been in question and as trustees
we continue to have complete trust in our CEO to support and grow the organisation
in line with the aspirations of both the trustees and the community."
Inspiring Communities Together