Charity and transparency go hand-in-hand

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This issue’s front page features a story concerning the student-run charity fashion show DONT WALK and the potential loss of their charitable status.

We ran this story as our front page for issue 221 because transparency is something incredibly important to us. Given the nature of many of the stories we publish, we have to be as clear, open and honest as possible for the sake of the writers and those involved in the stories.

As OSCR has asserted, there can be legitimate reasons for a charity submitting its returns late.

However, if the charity does not adequately explain these reasons to the public, they have ultimately failed in their duty to be transparent.

DONT WALK’s failure to reply to our requests for comment, despite our persistent attempts to obtain one, is concerning.

We recognise that the committee members of DONT WALK are students, and that mistakes can be made, but that doesn’t explain their accounts being 325 days overdue at the time of publication.

DONT WALK is well-established within the St Andrews charity scene; it has 35 people on its committee and has raised over £220,000 for charity since its founding in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

If DONT WALK were to lose their charity status, it would not only be a great loss to the charities they’ve done such excellent work for but also for the hundreds of event-goers who’ve enjoyed watching DONT WALK’s shows under the presumption that all financial matters were in hand.

We hope that DONT WALK will resolve the situation without fines being issued or their charity status being revoked.

If DONT WALK decides to respond to the article in The Saint today, we will publish their comments accordingly.

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