Penny Appeal ‘truly horrified’ at safeguarding allegations at Gambian partner organisation

19 Aug 2020 News

Penny Appeal logo

Penny Appeal is “truly horrified” at safeguarding allegations at a local community-based organisation in Gambia, and has submitted a serious incident report to the Charity Commission. 

In a statement on its website, the charity said that on 13 August 2020 it became aware of allegations about a local project supported by its partner Penny Appeal Gambia.

The statement reads: “As an organisation, we are truly horrified at the allegations. Protecting children and young people from harm is of the highest possible level of importance to us. We recognise and accept our responsibility to ensure our partners provide an environment which promotes the safety of our beneficiaries, especially young people, at all times.”

The charity adds that there wil be “a full and independent investigation into all related matters”. 

It is also contacting the relevant authorities in Gambia and has informed the Charity Commission of this through a serious incident report.

“All safeguarding concerns are treated with the highest level of seriousness and priority. Our primary concern has and will always be the wellbeing of those in need,” the statement says.

“Further updates will be posted as the investigation is underway.”

Data for the financial year ending 30 April 2019 puts Penny Appeal's income at £33.2m and spending at £35.1m. The charity provides poverty relief across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It also works in the UK to help homeless people and women who have experienced domestic abuse. 

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns about an alleged safeguarding incident relating to one of Penny Appeal’s partner organisations. Penny Appeal has submitted a serious incident report to us, in line with our guidance.

“We are in contact with the trustees and will be seeking further information in order to fully assess this serious matter. We are unable to comment further at this time.

“All charities should be places in which people feel safe and free from harm; protecting people should be a priority for all charities.”

In July the founder of Penny Appeal, Adeem Younis, returned to the charity’s trustee board. He had stepped aside in September 2019 during an independent investigation into an alleged financial impropriety.

The investigation made recommendations on strengthening existing governance procedures and diversifying the board, but Younis was not found to have breached charity law. 

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