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Missing money has ‘detrimental effect’ on child’s rehabilitation

Harry with his parents Charlotte and Matt and brother Callum.

A MELKSHAM family is worried that their son will miss out on vital rehabilitation support due to an ongoing investigation into the charity holding funds raised by the community for his treatment.

In 2016, nearly £60,000 was raised by friends and family of local boy Harry Kirkman, who has cerebral palsy and is now five years old. The money was to help fund a trip to America for a special operation to help him walk on his own.

A portion of the money raised, intended to fund ongoing rehabilitation costs, is held by Bristol-based charity, the Darren Wright Foundation. However, a year ago, the family began to struggle accessing the money.

Invoices sent to the charity to pay for Harry’s treatment were being left unpaid, causing concern for the family. The foundation currently still holds over £14,000 of Harry’s money. “Money was never given directly to us by the charity, we would ask them to pay invoices for treatment or equipment for Harry, which they would pay direct to the companies,” explained Harry’s mum Charlotte Deegan.

Alongside other families affected, Harry’s family complained to the Charity Commission who launched an investigation in November. “We have to wait now for the outcome of the Charity Commission until we can try and access Harry’s money again,” said Charlotte. “But his physio is ongoing and he needs equipment and support, such as a specialist bike and wheelchair, and intense physio sessions.

“This is having a detrimental impact on Harry’s rehabilitation. My son is missing out as nothing is happening. It makes me angry as I don’t want Harry to miss out, but I have to put those feelings in a box and get on with life, but it does build up. Everyone came together to raise that money and it’s frustrating that we can’t use it for what it was meant for.

“Harry is now at school, so it is hard work to manage that and his physio, so the equipment would have made things easier for us.

“I’ve no plan as to what we can do next, I’m hanging on to the hope that we can access the money soon, but there is no communication from the Charities Commission when that might be. It would be good to have some idea about what is going on, but we’ve been left in limbo.”

Melksham News contacted the Charity Commission for an update, but as the investigation is ongoing they were unable to provide any information or give a timescale as to when the investigation may be concluded.

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