An independent report into the Elephant & Castle Trust, an organisation set up six years ago with an ambitious plan for local social projects, has found that the group has remained dormant and not received or spent any money at all.
The Elephant & Castle Trust, established in 2006, was intended to continue the work of the Elephant Links Regeneration Partnership which spent central government regeneration funding in the area for seven years from 1999.
The new organisation was established to take forward some of Elephant Links' work. Directors were appointed and a logo was designed but the trust has remained dormant to this day.
Last year Southwark Council commissioned an independent consultant, Mark Patchett, to write a report on the current status of the trust and make recommendations for its future.
The report was recently published by the council and a consultation period closes at 12 noon on Friday 2 March.
The trust's current directors include Simon Hughes MP, former council leader Nick Stanton, local Anglican priest Revd Neil McKinnon and four resident representatives: Robert Brett, Sophie Clissold, Jason Devoy and Jon Muir. There is no chair at present.
Although the report does not apportion blame for the failure of the trust, Mark Patchett notes that it has not received any funds or even opened a bank account.
The original intention was that the trust would receive an income from the media training centre at 56 Southwark Bridge Road (now known as Ability Media Centre and run by Leonard Cheshire Disability) and from the nursery at Charlotte Sharman lodge.
The report lists a number of factors which have affected the trust, including delays to the Elephant & Castle regeneration programme, the economic downturn, the change of political control at Southwark Council in 2010 and the abolition of the London Development Agency.
Mr Patchett recommends that that the trust is brought into operation to receive and spend £60,000 over the next two years to be provided from the rent paid to Southwark Council by the Ability Media Centre.
He also recommends that the trust discuss with Southwark Council and Lend Lease the possibility of turning the trust into a sustainable long-term organisation to provide a range of local activities and services.
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