Controversial report criticises Sheffield charity

Sheffield City Hall.
Sheffield City Hall.
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A Sheffield charity has been criticised in a controversial report for spending only 25 per cent of its income on good causes.

A report by the True and Fair Foundation found that Sheffield City Trust spent only £17,021,000 the £48,186,000 income it received last year.

Andrew Snelling, of Sheffield International Venues

Andrew Snelling, of Sheffield International Venues

Sheffield City Trust – SCT – owns or manages 12 entertainment and sports venues including Sheffield City Hall, Hillsborough Leisure Centre and The English Institute of Sport.

The research, entitled A Hornet’s Nest, analysed 5,543 charities with more than £500,000 in their latest reported accounts and was based on data from the Charity Commission and Companies House.

The report said of SCT: “Their charitable status begs the question, if they are being given local and central government money to provide services for the community, why do they appear to have spent as little as 25 per cent, on average,on their charitable works.”

But the report has sparked outrage within the charity sector for being misleading and critics have also said it is inaccurate.

SCT said that as a not-for-profit organisation, all revenue generated is reinvested back into programmes and facilities in the city for the benefit of Sheffield people.

Andrew Snelling, finance director and deputy chief executive at SCT, said:““We are a not-for-profit leisure organisation so all our income comes from charging customers to use our facilities and investment income and grants, mainly from Sheffield City Council as most of the facilities we operate are under contract from the Council.

“The expenditure of the charity includes a significant amount of ’costs of generating funds’ which is the cost of operating the leisure facilities for which income is received.

He added that financial statements are drafted under Charities Statement of Recommended Practice accounting regulation, which requires charities to publish a statement of financial activities, rather than an income and expenditure account showing the movement of funds during the year which is a ‘weakness’ of the system.

Mr Snelling said: “SCT’s primary charitable objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of Sheffield people by providing facilities for sport and leisure activities.

“All revenue generated is reinvested back into programmes and facilities in the city.