Revealed: the hidden Blackpool company presenting itself as charity Support The Heroes to recruit paid fundraisers

  1. A Blackpool company owned by the same people as Prize Promotions Limited, the discredited professional fundraiser now in administration, is presenting itself as a military charity to recruit paid fundraisers. From the same address as Prize Promotions Limited, Local VIP Ltd is presenting itself as charity Support The Heroes on an independent jobs website. Support The Heroes is a newly registered charity, officially based in Kirkham, a small Lancashire town midway between Blackpool and Preston. Amazingly, the charity doesn’t disclose a landline phone number on its website or the Charity Commission public register, only a mobile. The charity website, which is vague and unconvincing, says nothing about working with a professional fundraiser. Tony Chadwick, director of Prize Promotions Limited and Local VIP, has long-standing business relationships with two of the five trustees of the charity. The three of them helped run a life insurance firm in Blackpool, for example, which is now dissolved. Also, these two trustees and another one are currently running various companies with Bernard Chadwick, presumably a relation of Tony Chadwick. (Bernard Chadwick was a director of the life insurance company as well.) The registered address for many of these businesses is the same Kirkham one used for Support The Heroes.
  2. Support The Heroes (registered charity number: 1155853) is currently advertising two roles on Indeed, an independent jobs website: http://www.indeed.co.uk. Well, that’s how it appears: Support The Heroes directly posted the ads there and is shown as the recruiting company. The two roles are: “Charity Fundraiser” (screen shot in Figure 1) and “Charity Wristband Fundraiser” (screen shot in Figure 2).
    Figure 1. Charity Fundraiser job ad at 15 April 2015

    Figure 1. Charity Fundraiser job ad at 15 April 2015

    Figure 2. Charity Wristband Fundraiser job ad at 15 April 2015

    Figure 2. Charity Wristband Fundraiser job ad at 15 April 2015

  3. But both ads list the charity’s location as Blackpool FY3, not Kirkham. Prior to going into administration, Blackpool FY3 was the trading address for Prize Promotions Limited, the discredited professional fundraiser. Its full trading address was: 22 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, FY3 9AQ. Local VIP is also there. Tony Chadwick is director of Prize Promotions Limited (Company number: 07829587). Luke Varley used to be a director of the company, too, until resigning 4 April 2014. Both Mr Chadwick and Mr Varley are also directors of Local VIP Ltd (Company number: 07203970). This company sells the “Local VIP Card”, a discount card: http://www.localvipcard.co.uk.
  4. Applicants for both roles are invited to upload their CVs or call Dave on 07547320277. So no full name, no landline and no full address. Yet searching online for Dave with this number reveals that it’s Dave Ellison, it seems, who is “‎National Venues Manager” at Local VIP, Blackpool, according to his LinkedIn profile (screen shot in Figure 3).

    Figure 3. Dave Ellison LinkedIn profile at 15 April 2015

    Figure 3. Dave Ellison LinkedIn profile at 15 April 2015

  5. As I said, the charity Support The Heroes is shown as the recruiting company in both ads. Indeed, that for “Charity Wristband Fundraiser” (Figure 2) unambiguously says that the “street sellers” will be “working directly for the charity”. Yet it is clear that Local VIP in Blackpool is presenting itself as Support The Heroes.
  6. Support The Heroes is a newly registered military charity, supposedly based in Kirkham, a small Lancashire town midway between Blackpool and Preston: http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk/contact.php. Amazingly, the charity doesn’t disclose a landline phone number on its website or the Charity Commission public register, only a mobile. The Charity Commission explicitly warns the public not to donate to charitable collections where fundraising materials only bear a mobile number – see the fourth of nine checks the commission recommends in the London-wide safer giving campaign: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/commission-backs-london-wide-safer-giving-campaign. Here it’s even worse: the charity itself only uses a mobile number.
  7. The charity website, which is vague and unconvincing, says nothing about working with a professional fundraiser. So the charity says it conducted its first “skill prize draw” 11 February 2015, but there is no mention of a professional fundraiser on the web page at 18 April 2015: http://web.archive.org/web/20150418135108/http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk/skillprizedraw.php.
  8. There is just one email address on the website: admin@supporttheheroes.org.uk. And no names anywhere, not even on the “About Us” page.
  9. The “Donations” page invites suspicion by not publishing bank account details. Rather, potential donors are asked to call the mobile number for these. Here is the page at 18 April 2015: https://web.archive.org/web/20150418132140/http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk/donations.php. Also suspicious is that a “Direct Debit form will be available to download soon”. Perhaps it will. Similarly, if you want to buy anything other than a wristband – £3 each – the charity’s online shop will disappoint. “More great items are on the way so check back soon”, it says at 18 April 2015: http://web.archive.org/web/20150418134139/http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk/store.php.
  10. The website lists the official Twitter page: https://twitter.com/supportthheroes. That’s right, it’s @supportthheroes [sic]. The charity currently has only six followers there. It is unclear why Support The Heroes hasn’t used its correct name on Twitter when @supporttheheroes seems to be available.
  11. Tony Chadwick, director of Prize Promotions Limited and Local VIP, has long-standing business relationships with two of the five trustees of the charity, Pauline White and Pamela Carruthers. Mrs White is listed as public contact for the charity on the Charity Commission website. Mrs Carruthers is registered owner of the charity’s domain name, supporttheheroes.org.uk (source: WHOIS records).The three of them helped run a life insurance firm in Blackpool, for example, which is now dissolved – Financial and Professional Services Limited (Company number: 00651908). Also, these two trustees and another one, Nicola Swarbrick, are currently running various companies with Bernard Chadwick, presumably a relation of Tony Chadwick. (Bernard Chadwick was a director of the life insurance company as well.) The registered address for many of these businesses is the same Kirkham one used for Support The Heroes.
  12. Charity trustee Mrs White is the director of a new company with a name that raises serious questions about Support The Heroes. This firm is Support The Heroes (Fundraising) Limited (Company number: 09284788) and its registered address and trading address are the same familiar Kirkham one. The charity name is clearly similar to that of Mrs White’s company. Yet the charity is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) and as such can’t have the same name as a registered company, says the Charity Commission. It states: “Check Companies House to make sure that there are no companies with a similar name to your CIO.” (https://www.gov.uk/how-to-choose-a-charity-name) The charity predates the firm: Support The Heroes was registered at the commission 19 February 2014, while Support The Heroes (Fundraising) Limited was incorporated 28 October 2014.
  13. Prize Promotions Limited, the discredited professional fundraiser, is in administration, as I reported in January. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/prize-promotions-limited-in-administration/) This blog has exclusively revealed how Prize Promotions Limited has consistently misled the public across the UK in its rip-off fundraising activities, often working illegally. Support The Heroes is the third “heroes” military charity linked to Tony Chadwick and his companies. So Prize Promotions Limited was official professional fundraiser for first Afghan Heroes and then Our Local Heroes Foundation. I first wrote about Prize Promotions Limited and its role with Afghan Heroes January 2014, just after the Charity Commission announced December 2013 that it had opened a statutory inquiry into Afghan Heroes. That inquiry continues. On 9 November 2014, I appeared as a live studio guest on 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme. There we exposed Prize Promotions Limited and its work for the two military charities. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/our-local-heroes-foundation-to-stop-working-with-prize-promotions-limited-on-bbc-radio-5-live/) Our Local Heroes Foundation had told BBC Radio 5 live then that it would stop working with Prize Promotions Limited – only to still be working together in December last year. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/man-conned-into-buying-a-prize-draw-ticket-in-the-name-of-our-local-heroes-foundation-video/) In the latest twist, Our Local Heroes Foundation switched to a seemingly new official professional fundraiser, Targeted Management Limited (company number: 09036445). But Targeted Management Limited is just another new company owned by Tony Chadwick, as I revealed in February. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/from-prize-promotions-limited-to-targeted-management-limited/)
  14. The charity name itself is questionable. It is too similar to Help for Heroes (registered charity number: 1120920), the high-profile military charity. I don’t understand why the Charity Commission allowed the name given the similarity. What makes it worse, Help for Heroes is so well-known and its cause so popular that most reported frauds relating to military charities derive from “charities” with names similar to Help for Heroes, says the police. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/charity-fraudsters-use-help-for-heroes-popularityto-help-themselves-9242465.html) [This report appeared in the print Independent 7 April 2014 as “Charity fraudsters use Heroes’ popularity to help themselves”.] So the similarity of the charity name to Help for Heroes isn’t just likely to mislead the public. It is reasonable to be suspicious of any “heroes” military charity because of the documented fraud risk. Support The Heroes therefore needs to be scrutinised. Why exactly is it using this name?
  15. More generally, any new military charity deserves scrutiny. In May 2014, General Sir Mike Jackson, the then new president of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, said there are too many military charities in an interview for The Independent. The outgoing chief executive of the Charity Commission, Sam Younger, agreed a month later in the same newspaper. The large number of legitimate charities in the sector is confusing for the public and those who serve. Yet as I said in a letter again in The Independent September 2014, this isn’t only about duplication and inefficiencies. This over-supply and the fact that military charities have become one of the most popular causes – consider Help for Heroes – also mean fraudsters are active in this charity sector. So a new military charity adds to the potential confusion, making it easier for bogus charities to flourish. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/letter-in-the-independent-on-fraud-in-the-charity-sector-and-the-number-of-military-charities/) For any new military charity, we need to ask: is it really necessary?
  16. The name Support The Heroes is bad enough. But this is the third “heroes” military charity linked to Tony Chadwick and his companies. This blog has exclusively revealed how Prize Promotions Limited – now in administration – has consistently misled the public across the UK in its rip-off fundraising activities, often working illegally. Here I have exposed another act of bad faith: one of his companies is presenting itself as charity Support The Heroes to recruit paid fundraisers. The newly registered charity only uses a mobile phone number for its business, not disclosing a landline. While the charity website looks dodgy – it is vague and unconvincing. Finally, Tony Chadwick isn’t independent of the charity trustees. In short, it is reasonable to question the legitimacy of Support The Heroes.
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12 thoughts on “Revealed: the hidden Blackpool company presenting itself as charity Support The Heroes to recruit paid fundraisers

  1. Pingback: Email from Support The Heroes – dated 5 May 2015 | Dr Alex May

  2. I worked for this company who are still trading and allthe fund raisers are still fiddling from management to the fundraisers themselves . The charities commission should close this company.

  3. Pingback: Targeted Management Limited: censorship and secrecy | Dr Alex May

  4. Pingback: Support the Heroes, Charity Scam | The Walter Mitty Hunters Club.

  5. Can’t believe I got collared by a very friendly Support the Heroes collector today in Knutsford. I was in a hurry and even quipped “it’s not a scam is it” the guy showed me his ID with charity number on.
    I googled the charity as I walked back to my car and on reading this returned to challenge the guy but he’d disappeared.

  6. These people also go by the name Support The Soldiers they regularly work in Hanley Stoke on Trent conning good people out of thier cash and effectively stealing from genuine military charities such as The RBL and Help For Heroes

  7. Support The Heroes operates fully within the law. This proves that the law is inadequate and that the Charities Commision are in collusion with these con-men.

  8. Approached in Blackpool today by some guy from “Forward Thinking – Proud to support our heroes” selling wristbands for £2.50. Can’t find any trace of them on web except this post. Regret to say didn’t think it may be a scam until too late…

  9. The Charity Support the Heroes is reported to be suspended from operating and has had it’s assets frozen following a report by BBC Scotland (16 Nov 2016). There is no mention of this on the Charity Commission web site nor on the site of the charity. It is still possible to donate.

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