Grantmaker changes name after founder accused of human trafficking

07 Feb 2024 News

The Hamish Ogston Foundation has changed its name to the Vinehill Trust after allegations were made about its eponymous founder and former chair. 

Last October, the Sunday Times published allegations regarding the millionaire Hamish Ogston which alleged human trafficking, sexual exploitation and drug offences. 

The Charity Commission opened a regulatory compliance case into the foundation following the allegations.

Ogston and his daughter both retired as trustees and a new board was appointed.

Now, the organisation has rebranded as the Vinehill Trust, with its new name registered with the Charity Commission but its own website remaining under its original branding.

The Metropolitan Police, meanwhile, said that detectives from its specialist crime command unit were still investigating the historic allegations of exploitation and drug offences. 

“We take reports of this nature extremely seriously and would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of exploitation, no matter how long ago it was, to come forward,” a Met spokesperson said.

English Heritage pays back donation

Charities have reviewed millions they had received in donations from the grantmaker since the allegations were first reported.

English Heritage announced it had rejected a record £11.2m donation from the foundation following the reports, which would have been the largest it had ever been given. 

The charity had already received £667,000 of the donation from the trust but it has now confirmed to Civil Society that it has returned this money to the Vinehill Trust. 

Meanwhile, the National Trust received £6.2m to open an apprenticeship scheme in partnership with the foundation and is still considering whether to repay the money.

The National Trust’s apprenticeship scheme was originally named after Ogston, but it has since changed its name to Heritage Crafts Apprenticeship programme. 

A National Trust spokesperson told Civil Society: “The board of trustees has met to consider this matter and we are now discussing next steps with the Vinehill Trust.”  

The Vinehill Trust has yet to respond to requests for comment. 

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the free Civil Society daily news bulletin here.

More on