I decided to setup a charity to help the people of Greater Manchester who live in poverty, including those who are homeless. The charity, which will be accountable to the Charities Commission, our Trustees, and the general public is always open for questions and comments, and welcome them directly to my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting a charity was meant to be the most exciting time of my career, my goal, to help people in poverty. My mission, to fight for the people that can’t.
Pledge and the two funds will launch as planned, to help as many people as possible living in poverty.
You’re the CEO of Pledge. What do you do?
In a nutshell, Pledge has been set up to alleviate poverty in Greater Manchester, and 100% of my time is dedicated to that end.
We provide grants to individuals to help pay for things that they many not be able to buy due to their circumstances, such as a kettle or toaster. This has been set up for people in extreme poverty where the affects of living without enough money to live impacts hugely upon their opportunities in life.
Is Pledge a charity?
We’re waiting for our official charitable status. We have spent the past year building our brand, website and to get officially registered, which has been a frustrating process.
It shouldn’t be much longer before we are registered and then have our official launch, which will be a massive day for Pledge.
You announced further details on Twitter of (Pledge) with the March launch of Bee Equal Poverty Fund and Manchester Arena Poverty Fund. What will these funds do?
The two funds were due to be announced when we have our official status, and when we launch in March. We were quite excited to be able to announced this at the launch, however, due to being asked about them now, we have decided to publish how and why the funds operate.
The two funds are different.
The Bee Equal fund is for anyone living in poverty in Greater Manchester.
The Manchester Arena Fund is for those affected by the attack.
Like everyone else in Manchester, I was extremely saddened by the attack, and at the time decided to set up a Just Giving page to raise money for the victims. This fund, The Manchester Arena Fund, is for the victims and families of the arena attack, and now that we have launched details about the fund, people are welcome to submit applications.
We do appreciate that people have raised some concerns over these funds, and how long it is has taken to make them available to the people who might best utilise them. Looking at the situation with the benefit of hindsight, I should have been more clear around the progress go the funds and not waited for our launch.
It has taken us far longer than expected to gain our charitable status . However, we are really happy that we have finally been able to launch the fund online so that people affected by the tragedy can apply now, ready for us to pay out grants when we are confirmed as a registered charity.
Pledge, when launched will be accountable to the charities commission, our trustees and the general public, we’re looking forward to having our official status.
Who will be eligible for payment?
We have set up a page (https://www.pledgecharity.org/poverty-funds/) that talks about eligibility, but essentially, anyone affected by the tragedy can apply. We will follow due diligence, for example, we will for identification and carry out further checks before awarding any funds.
You raised £7,334 through JustGiving to help “the children and those killed and affected by the 22/5/17 Manchester Arena bombing”. Where is this held?
The funds are held in a PayPal account of which we have provided evidence of to many people who have asked me privately, and they been there since the fund was set up. Now that the two funds have their own pages and when we have launched (pending our official status), we will welcome awarding the funds.
We are hoping that this fund will be able to help those who, even years down the line, are struggling due to the attack. They may have lost a family member, been injured or been extremely traumatised by the horrific event, so we are happy to be in a position to help.
The JustGiving page closed in July 2017. Has any money been paid out to those people affected by the Arena bombing?
No, not as yet. To be clear, with hindsight I totally agree that there has been too long a delay, something which I can’t now change. I can however continue to dedicate my time to making the best possible use of the charitable funds now, and in the future.
We’ve never felt until now in a position to distribute the funds responsibly and with all the necessary accountability. We’re aware that the current Arena fund is drawing to a close for donations. By distributing these funds ourselves we believe and trust that we’ve made it very easy to apply and to be clear how the process works.
We fully intend to do what we said in the beginning and distribute the fund to victims of the arena attack as quick as reasonably possible.
What about the questions people have on Twitter?
Social media is not always the best forum, but I appreciate that some people have voiced serious concerns which they want addressing. A lot of work has been going on in the background, for example working on a robust legal structure, deciding how these two funds should best operate, and creating a transparent process. That’s not all easy to explain in a tweet. I do however welcome any questions at all.
In hindsight I should have communicated far better with regular updates on how and when the money raised on Justgiving was to be used. Throughout the process of applying to the Charities Commission and creating a stringent process for the fund, there wasn’t any transparency at all. For that, I apologise to all those who donated and to the public, and potential/future recipients of the fund.
The money raised will still be used for victims of the attack as originally planned and we will welcome awarding the fund to individuals is due course. We are determined that our plans to help the disadvantaged and victims of the attack will continue.
Any further questions can be sent to: email@example.com