The National Equine Training Trust has been re-entered onto the Register of Charities, after a formal investigation led to the Charity Commission appointing new trustees.
The charity was removed from the register in 2013 because the regulator believed it was inactive. Trustees had not filed annual returns or responded to communications from the Commission.
The regulator later found that no money entered or left the charity's bank account after 2015.
However, the Commission opened a statutory inquiry in April 2020 when it discovered that the charity still owned a piece of land in Sevenoaks, Kent, which was registered with the Land Registry as the Gwendoline Walker Donkey Centre.
In its inquiry report, published last week, the Commission concluded that the charity was in fact inactive and that the “former trustees had mismanaged the charity by failing to manage its property responsibly”.
One of the charity’s neighbours claimed to have been using the land for several years and filed an adverse possession claim to take ownership of the land. The trustees had not responded to these proceedings.
The Commission got involved to make sure that land owned by the charity remained in its possession and the neighbour’s claim was struck out.
The regulator then removed the inactive trustees and appointed two new trustees, who have gone on to recruit three others to the board.
Amy Spiller, head of investigations at the Charity Commission, said: “This case serves as a reminder that good governance is not a bureaucratic detail – it underpins the delivery of a charity’s purposes to the high standards expected by the public – and without it, in this case, land and assets belonging the charity were almost lost.
"Trustees must properly manage their charity’s assets and ensure appropriate safeguards are in place to protect them.
“Our intervention has been crucial in enabling The National Equine Training Trust to get up and running again. We took action to protect the charity’s land and assets so it could again deliver on its charitable purposes.
"I hope, with new trustees in place, this charity will be able to again provide support to equine animals and inspire the trust of the communities it was set up to help.”