Great Ormond Street Hospital has said it will keep hundreds of thousands of pounds raised by a disgraced charitable trust following a scandal-hit fundraising event.
The children hospital’s fundraising arm has said it has rolled back on the decision to return £530,000 to the Presidents Club Charitable Trust after an undercover investigation exposed alleged sexual harassment at a men-only charity gala.
The Presidents Club had donated money to the children’s charity via three gifts between 2009 and 2016.
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) said on Tuesday that the trustees have decided to keep the funds donated by the Presidents Club.
A spokesperson for GOSH said in a statement: “Our thinking is always guided by our aim to maximise the support we give to the hospital and the families it cares for.
“Following feedback from our supporters, guidance from the Charity Commission and taking into account the impending closure of the Presidents Club Charitable Trust, the trustees have decided to retain the funds donated by the trust.
“We would like to thank all of our donors for their support, it is only through their generosity that we can make a difference for seriously ill children cared for at the hospital.”
Two undercover FT reporters posing as hostesses spent six hours at the “most un-PC event of the year” at the Dorchester Hotel earlier this year.
Female staff were instructed to wear skimpy black outfits and matching underwear, the paper reports.
The FT reported that at an after-party many of the female workers - some of them students - were “groped, sexually harassed and propositioned”.
Among the prizes up for grabs at the evening’s fundraising auction were an evening at a Soho strip club and a course of plastic surgery to “add spice to your wife” for the lucky winner.
Staff were reportedly obliged to sign non-disclosure agreements on the night.
The exposure of the fundraising event led to the chair of the Presidents Club, David Meller, stepping down from his position on the Department for Education board.
The charitiable trust was disbanded after the scandal came to light.
The Presidents Club stated on its website that in its 33-year history it raised more than £20 million for underprivileged children. According to the FT, January’s event alone raised more than £2 million.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which is the largest membership body for English charities, said at the time that “any reputable charity would be horrified to be associated with an event like this”.
GOSH released a statement shortly after the scandal hit the headlines, stating that “due to the wholly unacceptable nature of the event” they were returning previous donations and “will no longer accept gifts from the Presidents Club Charitable Trust”.