Leeds charity accepts £1m from fund set up in name of Jimmy Savile

Leeds skyline. 
Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds skyline. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

The Leeds Community Foundation charity has agreed to accept a £1m donation from a fundraising trust originally set up in the name of Jimmy Savile.

The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust ceased operating in 2012 but has been looking for good causes to benefit from the money remaining in its accounts.

Now Leeds Community Foundation has confirmed it has been chosen as a recipient of that cash.

The foundation says it thought long and hard before accepting but has decided that a positive use should be found for the money.

Foundation chair Rachel Hannan said: “We want to help as many people as we can but despite the hundreds of grants we make every year there are still many more we have to turn down due to lack of funds.

“When approached about receiving this donation, trustees took into consideration the good work we can do with it and how many of the charities and good causes we have been unable to support previously where we can now offer help.”

The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust was set up in 1985 with the stated aim of supporting victims of poverty and sickness.

Financial records show it had funds totalling £3.7m in 2011-12, around the time that Leeds-born Savile was exposed as a serial sex attacker.

The money held by the trust was raised through the efforts of the public and was separate to Savile’s personal fortune.

Ms Hannan said: “Our final decision was influenced by the fact that the money is made up of donations from members of the public and we believe their contributions should reach their intended targets.

“We wanted to be completely honest and transparent about accepting this donation and we will support a wide range of people and communities.”

A High Court judge’s approval last year of a compensation scheme for Savile’s victims meant 166 individuals were in line to receive combined damages of £2.3m.

The victim payouts could not come from the Savile trust cash as it was ring-fenced for strictly-defined charitable purposes.

Savile left an estate of £4.3m when he died in 2011 but it was frozen following the revelations about his crimes.

Just over £1.15m was eventually directed into the payouts for his victims, with a significant chunk of the remainder reportedly being eaten up by legal costs.