Great Ormond Street Hospital considering position on Presidents Club donations

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Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is in talks about whether or not to return funds donated by the controversial Presidents Club trust.

The children’s charity said last month it would return previous donations from the trust following a men-only dinner at The Dorchester hotel on January 18, which gained notoriety following claims female hostesses had been groped.

The hospital confirmed on Monday it is “in discussions” with the Charity Commission and will consider its position at a trustee meeting in March.

The report sparked a furious backlash and several high-profile charities refused to take any donations from the trust.

A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Children’s Charity described reports about the event as shocking and on January 24 said it is “returning previous donations and will no longer accept gifts from the Presidents Club Charitable Trust”.

But in a statement on Monday, a GOSH Children’s Charity spokeswoman said: “Guiding all our thinking is our aim to maximise the support to the hospital and the families it cares for.

“We can confirm that we are in discussions with the Charity Commission and are scheduled to meet them later this week.

“Following this meeting and taking into account the latest developments with the Presidents Club Charitable Trust and feedback from our supporters, we will consider our position at our March Trustee meeting.”

The Evelina London Children’s hospital, which also said on January 24 that it would return all previous donations from the Presidents Club, confirmed it is in contact with the Charity Commission about their “next steps”.

During the controversial dinner, businessman Richard Caring, owner of London restaurants The Ivy and Scott’s, bid £400,000 to place his name on a new high dependency unit at the Evelina, the Financial Times reported.

On Monday, a spokeswoman from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the charity for Evelina London Children’s hospitals, said: “We have written to the Charity Commission about our proposed course of action and are currently in dialogue with them about our next steps.”

In January, the Evelina said: “We are very alarmed by the allegations about the behaviour of some of those attending the Presidents Club fundraising dinner.

“This is not the kind of event we would wish to be associated with and we will therefore be declining funding from it and returning all previous donations from the Presidents Club.”

University College London Hospitals Charity said it has already returned a one-off £5,000 donation it received in 2015.

The Charity Commission said it has been in contact with “a number of charities” about their donations.

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity have asked the Commission for advice and guidance on returning previous donations and that we are in discussion with the trustees about their decision.

“It is up to a charity’s trustees to make the difficult decision as to whether they want to return a donation.

“If they wish to do so they should seek advice from the Commission about whether our authorisation is required in their specific case.

“As part of our case we will be working to ensure that the Presidents Club Charitable Trust is properly wound up and that any remaining or returned funds are dealt with correctly.”

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