NEW concerns have been expressed about the running of an East Lancashire foodbank.

Conservative County Councillor David Foxcroft and Rossendale Council’s Labour leader Cllr Alyson Barnes have both questioned the management of the Rawtenstall-based RAFT Foundation.

Concerns about the way the organisation was run were originally raised in September 2017 and in May 2018 were raised in Parliament by Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones.

Mid-Rossendale Conservative Cllr Foxcroft has written to Mark Stapleton, chair of the ‘constituted community group’ which runs the the Rossendale Foodbank, calling for more financial information.

He has also asked for an update on the organisation’s promised application for charitable status.

Cllr Foxcroft wrote: “It is nearly two years since we spoke now in relation to claims and accusations which were widely shared on social media about how the RAFT Foundation was being run. At the time I met with you to discuss these claims as well as gain a fuller understanding of what was going on.

“You made several commitments in order to ensure that the questions surrounding the claims could be fully cleared up. Concerningly, to date I haven’t seen any of these promises fulfilled. I am not aware nor can I find any record of the publication of any audited accounts or of an AGM being held. Lots of questions are still being left unanswered. I am worried that this is holding the RAFT Foundation back.

“To provide clarity about your current situation I should be grateful if you would provide me with a copy of your current constitution and the minutes of the meeting at which it was adopted; a list of your current trustees and officers; a copy of your latest audited or independently examined accounts and a brief account of the status of any application you have made to the Charity Commissioners to obtain Charity Registration.”

Cllr Barnes said: “Neither Rossendale Borough Council nor the Labour Party has had any current involvement with the Raft Foundation.

“I share the concerns about the lack of openness and transparency of the current management, and had been hoping that the action promised two years ago would have been forthcoming.

“It is deeply disappointing that it hasn’t.”

RAFT volunteer Caroline Collins said: “The RAFT board will consider and respond to Cllr Foxcroft’s letter in due course.”