Baby bank failed charity test over salary concern

Baby bank founder Bernadette Murphy and trustee Laura Livingstone
Baby bank founder Bernadette Murphy and trustee Laura Livingstone

Lanarkshire Baby Bank’s bid to become a charity was turned down due to concerns over how much it was to pay a general manager.

The organisation, set up just over a year ago to help needy families, has been at the centre of controversy because of Facebook posts suggesting it is a registered charity.

Founder Bernadette Murphy denied any attempt to mislead potential donors and said an application for charitable status had failed due to “administrative errors”.

However, a letter from the Scottish Charity Regulator outlining reasons for the refusal shows that wasn’t the case.

The regulator accepted that a general manager would help the baby bank but believed the “proposed level of private benefit is unnecessary in order to achieve the organisation’s purposes”.

It’s understood that baby bank trustees had named Mrs Murphy as their choice for the role of general manager.

The regulator said the baby bank had not shown how the salaries of a manager and an assistant would be paid for, suggesting a funding deficit by the end of 2018.

In a recent post for an online funding appeal, a baby bank trustee made no mention of plans for paid staff.

Laura Livingstone wrote that “destitute families” are the “sole beneficiaries” of the baby bank, adding: “Donations have never been and never will be used to pay even one member of the baby bank.”