HIV Homeopathy Charity Facing Financial Crunch

Homeopathy Action Trust post Huge Funding Defecit

800px-Aids_is_commons_in_AfricaThe charity Homeopathy Action Trust represents pretty much everything that is wrong with homeopathy in the UK today. Homeopaths would not be under such pressure and scrutiny if they did not fund and support HIV clinics in Africa, did not agitate for public funding on the NHS and did not advocate homeopathy for serious and life-threatening conditions. Other forms of alternative medicine do not do such things (at least to any large extent) but homeopaths appear to be fuelled by a fundamentalist and arrogant zeal.

The Homeopathy Action Trust (HAT) is a charity whose aims are to fund and promote just these things. They are supported by pretty much all the leading homeopaths, trade groups and businesses in the UK. But their latest Report of the Trustees for 2015 shows that donations to the charity have plummeted by three-quarters over the past year and expenditure has barely changed.

HAT has cropped up on this blog before. It is at the centre of much of the homeopathy world, receiving  support from the main homeopathy organisations. Its stated aims, as listed on the Charity Commission web site are to,

PROMOTING HOMEOPATHY THROUGH EDUCATION AND RESEARCH TOGETHER WITH A COMMITMENT TO WIDEN THE AVAILABILITY OF HOMEOPATHY THROUGH LOW COST CLINICS AND RAISE FUNDS TO SUPPORT HOMEOPATHIC ACTIVITIES.

The same declaration says its activities are in England and Wales. In reality, its activities appear to be focussed around funding various homeopathy clinics in Africa, mainly to treat HIV, promoting the use of homeopathy to treat cancer and providing ‘professional services’, which appears to be mainly supporting and offering ‘secretariat services’ to the homeopathy lobbying and PR group, 4Homeopathy, which I have recently written about a few times.

A consistent focus has been on Jeremy Sherr and his HIV clinics in East Africa. Simon Taffler, a trustee and key figure in HAT, presented Camilla Sherr with an Honorary Fellowship this year for her work with her husband in treating HIV+ people in Africa with sugar pills. Their outfit, Homeopathy for Health in Africa, claims to treat thousands of people in Tanzania and around with HIV, malaria and other serious illnesses. They claim not to interfere with anyones use of ARV treatments but will use homeopathy to treat the many complications people have. These people effectively remain untreated. As for the claim that they do not discourage real medicine, I suggest you watch their promotional youtube video that says ““Homeopathy is the only medicine that God wants.”

As for the claim that HAT promotes homeopathy through ‘education and research’, we need to look at the activities of 4Homeopathy. This is an organisation that brings together the leaders of the UK homeopathy community to unite in providing a common public relations and advertising front. It is behind PR campaigns to get homeopathy in the newspapers through endorsements from celebrities. I find this something of a stretch to describe this as a legitimate charitable activity that deserves the benefits of the tax breaks thus conferred. Of the £81,543 of expenditure last year, £31,882 was spent on professional services,

The Trust is helping to build momentum across a spectrum of activities, from media training to consolidated promotional activities. These are all being achieved through regular meetings between all the UK-based homeopathic professional and public-facing organisations and this new UK collaboration is becoming the model for international homeopathic communities.

I am not alone in being concerned about whether the activities of HAT fall within the definition of charitable activities. The blogger Majikthyse has undertaken extensive investigation and communication with the Charity Commission on the subject of such homeopathic charities. The commission have made a clear statement concerning the nature of charities promoting ‘complementary or alternative therapy’.

…the onus is on a charity, or organisation seeking to register as a charity, to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the particular complementary or alternative therapy or treatment it advances will tend to promote health. This means that there is an empirical, scientific evidence base for the claims made…

Majikthyse argues quite rightly that it is incredible that an urgent review is not undertaken of the status of the charities he investigated.

So, the 2015 reporting year appears to have been a very difficult year for the charity although you may not have got that impression straight away from the Report of the Trustees. The first thing that stands out is that three of the trustees resigned. The most notable one was Noam Bar. Bar is the business partner of Yotam Ottolenghi and together they set up their deli and cooking empire in London. I reported in July 2014 how Ottolenghi had been using profits from their business to fund Jeremy Sherr and his charity’ Homeopathy for Health in Africa. It is possible that both Bar and any financial help are now gone.

The report says of its donations, “We are grateful for the continued support of the Trust by Helios Homeopathy and the Homeopathic Supply Company.”, both manufacturers and suppliers of homeopathy in the UK. However, it looks as if donations have fallen off a cliff for 2015. Whereas, in previous years, donations were around £100,000 year on year, in 2015 the income was only £25,000. Expenditure did not change much with outgoings amounting to £82,000 – a slight increase on the previous year. This required a huge transfer of funds from reserves and leaves the charity precipitously close to running out of money. The funds carried forward dropped from £91,116 in 2014 to just £34,701 in 2015. Enough to keep it going for a few months. The costs of generating income and the support costs appear to be much bigger than the actual charitable activity expenditure which amounted to just £24,000. Actual charitable donations dropped from about £61,000 £14,000. Quite why this seismic shift in their financials has occurred is not made clear. But it does look like one or more significant sources of income is no longer giving.

financialhistory

The trustees do say that it has been difficult raising unrestricted income. And that as a result they are going to stop paying their Executive Director and for administrative assistance. Volunteers and trustees are expected to pick up the load.

It does look like 2016 will be a critical year for HAT and we shall see if it can step up to the mark and recover. If it does go under, this is one charity that no-one should shed a tear about. Its activities do not promote health but actively endanger it. Quite why we allow such charities to exist in the UK is a mystery.

On this theme…

13 Comments on HIV Homeopathy Charity Facing Financial Crunch

  1. I would be somewhat disappointed if bankruptcy finishes this scurrilous outfit, when it should have been closed down by the Charity Commission years ago.

  2. Some good news-but as we know, since homeopathy is basically a religion, those of that disposition will simply move sideways to another foolishness.
    And while I’m not on the subject-we don’t seem to have heard back from Gerard with his ‘evidence’ yet.
    I’ve been holding my breath waiting for so long, I’ve just found out I’ve died.

  3. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!

    There. That needed saying.

    But, as Anonymous said, it would have been better if the Charity Commission had taken action and held the trustees to account.

    It’s the usual problem of our Establishment taking a pathetically light-touch approach to the sugar retailers and their fellow-travellers.

  4. Barrie, I only reply to intelligent people, those who can see common sense and are prepared to accept things they might not understand. You are only having fun and it seems that either you have taken this as a hobby because you have plenty of time to spare or you are on a wage by the opposition. Hahnemann did say” I let the armchair professors argue while I busy myself curing the sick”.
    While you are wasting time arguing about nothing, why should I put myself on your level?
    Homeopathy is making a comeback and all your arguments cannot prevent it. You have not provided a reply to any of the good, sound and factual arguments people have presented. The best you come back with is abuse and insult. I wonder if Andy Lewis is reading your comments. He should take them off line if he is true to his original purpose of starting this blog. No one is so blind as the one who will not see.
    Don’t ask for a response from me. I only address people who want to be sensible.
    Gerard

  5. Not for the first time, since I started in my own little way to take on the magic thinkers, I have had it implied by a person of intellectual cowardice, not to say outright creepiness, that I am in the pay of dark forces, and that I refuse to answer points put to me.
    I consider the position to be the opposite in the latter respect.
    Let me try it another way.
    If I were to ask a homeopath a simple question-say, ‘How is it that a substance can be diluted 100 times, yet be more powerful?’
    Let’s say that this homeopath declined to answer this question, and so I asked it 100×100 times. And still no answer. So I asked it 100x100x100 times. Yet no answer. Even if I repeated this process 30 times with no answer.
    Would that make the question’s potency, and its lack of answer, more powerful?

  6. The thing is, also, that the charlatan Gerard is now trying to pretend that the reason he hasn’t produced his ‘evidence’ is that he won’t speak to people such as I, who are are only interested in taking the piss out of nitwits. But he didn’t promise to send the evidence to me. He promised to send it, specifically, to somebody else. A ‘Lady’, as I suspect he might call her. But either way, no ‘evidence’ seems to have surfaced. But as he said, it’s 10 years old, and it’s hard to find now on the Internet. And as I said, the Battle of Hastings is also 10 years old-if not more- but I can find that evidence enough.
    Still, it’s probably there on paper somewhere, in one of his files, all mixed up with his evidence of unicorns.
    I wish I thought all this were just silly foolishness, and had no consequence, but unfortunately we know that’s not the case.
    How often do we find now that human evolution is an endless repetition of 3 steps forward, 2 steps back?

  7. ‘The charity Homeopathy Action Trust represents pretty much everything that is wrong with homeopathy in the UK today.’

    Sorry to disagree with you Andy. Homeopathy represents pretty much everything that is wrong with homeopathy in the UK today, and everywhere else for that matter. It is the same argument about faith of every kind. In the end it boils down to the fact that all nonsense is nonsense, irrespective of how sweet and decent the exponents.

    It is a falsehood to think that we can forgive homeopaths who do not claim extreme abilities, any more than we can forgive those who profess only ‘benign’ faith, since all faith, however mild, cannot but defend all faith.

    Dear Gerard,

    You say “You have not provided a reply to any of the good, sound and factual arguments people have presented.” Kindly do let us know which of your “sound, factual arguments” you would hold out as your most irrefutable?

    Ta much!

  8. Of course nonsense is nonsense. But there are degrees of harm such nonsense can bring. We cannot rid the world of nonsense but we can try to mitigate in areas where there is serious risk of harm. If homeopathy was more ‘benign’, that is a bit more like crystal healing where claims of being complete form of medicine are rarer then we we would not care too much. If homeopaths stuck to treating people who were feeling a bit at odds then I am sure they would not be the focus of serious concern. This charity highlights just how extreme and damaging UK homeopathy is.

  9. The thing about Gerard, and people of his type, is that they do such vast damage to their own cause every time they open their mouth, or their computer, that it’s tempting to leave them to their absurd intellectual suicide-bombings.
    You may know the story of the Allied plan to get a sniper into Germany in 1943, in order to assassinate Hitler. The plan was formulated to a very detailed level, but was then dropped, because the Allies by then realised that Hitler was such a raving fruitcake-even by his own standards- that Germany would lose the War within about 18 months, and assassinating him would allow the Germans to bring in somebody slightly less imbecilic,extend the War a little, exhaust everybody, then sue for peace, and avoid being hanged.
    So on one level, Gerard and similar are deeply silly at best, utterly dangerous and demented at worst.
    If ‘deeply silly’ were the worst of it, then one could treat them-in a kindly manner-as the daft hippy next door, or the village simpleton.
    But as Andy points out, it all goes way beyond that, into the area of depravity and lunacy.
    Gerard is as far as I recall the 4th person to accuse me of being in the pay of shadowy big business, if not of outright criminals, for doing nothing more than disagreeing with him and others like him.
    It’s at this point that the mask of ‘holistic caring gentleness’, loosely glued on as it always was, slides off, and we see the boiling hatred and anger and wilful stupidity that’s underneath. I’ve had plenty of disagreements with people in the past-and I’m sufficiently grown up to remain friends with a lot of them-but never in my entire life have I been accused of holding the views I do because I’m being paid by dark forces. Until I took on homeopaths.
    I’m reading some early Martin Gardner stuff at the moment, including his 1952 writings on ‘dianetics’. That too at the time was regarded as just a silly cult followed by silly people. How quickly did THAT change.
    I understand the dangers of becoming embroiled in Britain’s libel laws-as Ben Goldacre and this site show, you can lose even if you win, in financial terms-but how I wish somebody somewhere could find a way of dragging people like Gerard into court and forcing them, at risk of huge financial cost, to back up their claims of financial impropriety with some evidence, or to shut the hell up with their baseless, cowardly allegations.
    But-as we’ve all said before-the notion of ‘evidence’ is alien to them, as can be seen by their adherence to this bizarre cult.

  10. The Sherrs pot forward a protocol for a trial of homeopathy vs HIV with a placebo (actually, of course two placebo) arms. Fortunately they dropped the idea. Their present claims to not interfere with ARV treatment can be considered along the general concept of veracity by homeopaths.

  11. “Homeopathy is the only medicine that God wants.”

    So God would want people to get cancer and AIDS, so that they can be treated with homeopathy?
    Dawkins was spot on about this evil megalomaniac.

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