Disabled cycling charity under investigation after staff dispute

Free Wheel North, who run an accessible cycling centre in Glasgow, is being investigated by the Scottish Charity Regulator.

Charity behind disabled cycling centre in Glasgow Green under investigation after staff dispute STV News

An organisation behind a disabled cycling track in Glasgow is being investigated by the charity watchdog.

Free Wheel North — which runs a cycle track with disability bikes at Glasgow Green — is at the centre of a probe by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) following an acrimonious dispute between the its founder and staff, volunteers and former trustees.

The charity, founded in 2008 by Norman Armstrong, aims to promote better mental and physical health through community engagement and has a particular focus on people with disabilities.

The foundation set up the Glasgow Green cycle track in 2011, providing accessible bikes including disability trikes and go-carts.

It is used by disabled groups as well as local and visiting children and families, who can rent bikes for up to 45 minutes at a time.

The OSCR confirmed it had opened an investigation into the charity after receiving a “significant number of concerns”.

They added that they would be obtaining information into how the charity was ran by it’s significant trustees.

A spokesperson for the regulator said: “We have received a significant number of concerns about the running of Free Wheel North and have opened an inquiry into the charity.

“Opening an inquiry does not mean that we have found any wrongdoing by the charity, simply that we need
to know more about the situation.

“We are in contact with the charity trustees to obtain information that will support our understanding of the current operations of the charity and the matters of concern.

“We are publishing this interim report at this stage in our work as a result of significant public interest in the charity at this time.

“Our inquiry must focus on how the charity is being run by the charity trustees.

“They are the people who are in management and control of the charity and have responsibility for running the charity.”

The charity’s director, Norman Armstrong, said they were cooperating with the investigation but denied any wrongdoing.

He added: “The OSCR opened an inquiry following some vexatious complaints made against us.

“At the moment we are working through any recommendations that OSCR suggests, and they tell us the inquiry is coming to a conclusion following a final meeting on line on May 4.”

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