A COUNCILLOR has taken his concerned over the running of an East Lancashire foodbank to the Charity Commission.

He has written to the voluntary sector regulator asking it to intervene in the affairs of The RAFT Foundation based in Rawtenstall.

Cllr David Foxcroft, Conservative Lancashire County Councillor for Mid-Rossendale, has told the commission that he believes the organisation, which runs Rossendale’s Foodbank, should be a registered charity operating under its legal framework.

The letter has also been signed by Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones who said: “I remain very concerned about RAFT. We need more transparency about its activities.”

RAFT responded by maintaining its affairs were in order.

Cllr Foxcroft said: “Following the lack of response to my two previous letters to the RAFT Foundation I have been left with no choice to make a formal complaint to the Charity Commission.”

His letter says: “The actions of the current management of The RAFT Foundation is having a negative and detrimental effect on the great work which the organisation has achieved since it began, as well as on other organisations offering similar services within Lancashire and beyond.

“The main areas of concern are: that RAFT is not a registered charity even though it seems to have charitable objects and an apparent income above the £5,000 threshold; that the management of RAFT has not provided financial and management information which they have formally been requested to do; there is a lack of transparency in the affairs of RAFT with regard to governance and reporting; and the reputation of RAFT continues to be called into question and the lack of charity status prevents access to some valuable support and financial resources.”

Cllr Foxcroft said that promises by RAFT trustees to publish a full financial report and register for charitable status in 2017 had not been fulfilled.

His letter added: “The lack of clarity is having a damaging effect on the trust of supporters in the organisation as well as in other local charities and organisations.”

RAFT’s volunteer organiser Caroline Collins said: “When Cllr Foxcroft genuinely seeks to communicate in an appropriate way with the RAFT Foundation we will welcome that.

“His continued refusal to meet and the fact he declined an invitation to help directly around governance is noted. RAFT is neither now, nor wishes to be a cash-rich organisation.”