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Protestors demanding answers over home

PUBLISHED: 20:35 04 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

CAMPAIGNERS fighting proposals to sell off three Sue Ryder Care homes have urged charity bosses to open up its books to justify its claims of huge financial losses.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting proposals to sell off three Sue Ryder Care homes have urged charity bosses to open up its books to justify its claims of huge financial losses.

Bosses at the charity have already closed the organisation's spiritual home in Cavendish, Suffolk, from where the late Lady Ryder launched her global foundation 50 years ago.

Two further homes in Staunton Harold, Leicestershire, and Binny in Scotland are also under threat of closure. Charity officials have claimed the homes are running at unsustainable financial losses.

Campaigners believe the charity is planning to sell off all three homes, which would boost the charity's coffers by millions of pounds.

Three groups fighting the sales have now joined forces and are demanding the charity open its books to justify its claims of massive financial losses. It is also requesting the charity makes public its plans for the money it will make from selling off three of its 20 homes in Britain.

Leading campaigner Bill Fantham said: "Sue Ryder Care is not a profit making company – it's a charity that's run with public money. The confusion surrounding the reasons for closing these three homes is unacceptable.

"We want trustees to give the public the facts and tell us what is happening to the money. If they have good reasons and it is all above board what have they got to hide."

The campaigning group has welcomed a ruling from the Charity Commission, which states the charity's founding home cannot be sold, leased or otherwise disposed of unless trustees comply with section 36 of the 1993 Charities Act.

The ruling means the charity must give public notice of any proposed disposal, inviting representations to be made to them within a time specified in the public notice. It must also take into account any representation made to them about the proposed disposal of the property.

Spokesman for the Keep Open Cavendish Home group Alicia Pennington said: "We are delighted with the Charity Commission's legal ruling. This means that the trustees of the Sue Ryder Care must now make a definitive statement on their intentions for the future of the Cavendish Home."

Trustees at the charity recently claimed it "had nothing to hide" after admitting it failed to lodge its accounts for up to December 2000 by the statutory deadline.

Although the charity faced a financial penalty for failing submit its accounts at Cardiff's Companies House by October 31, 2001, a spokesman said it was due to a simple mistake.

Nobody was available for comment at Sue Ryder Care's London headquarters.

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