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Anger and resignations over claims volunteers with additional needs were called ‘bloody useless’ at Perthshire charity

Jay Coram with his mum Kim, at the Market Gardens in Coupar Angus
Jay Coram with his mum Kim, at the Market Gardens in Coupar Angus

The trustees of a Perthshire community charity have resigned amid allegations volunteers with additional support needs were called “bloody useless” at a board meeting.

Multiple members of the Forward Coupar Angus (FCA) board have stepped aside over the claims made by former employee, Pam Mulgrew, who brought the comments to light.

Ms Mulgrew alleged that FCA director, Wendy McCombes, made the remarks at a board meeting in May that was attended by numerous trustees.

It is claimed Ms McCombes said: “Between these four walls I have to say that these people are totally bloody useless,” while referring to volunteers with additional support needs who work at the charity run community garden at Market Park.

Ms Mulgrew said: “I was shocked, but not one person pulled her up on it.

“How can a director of a community organisation have such a low opinion of people.

“How can they run an empowering community programme with attitude. I was appalled.”

Angry parents of the volunteers slammed the comments made by the now-former director as “disgusting”.

ay Coram (front) at the gardens with mum Kim (green) with friends and residents of Coupar Angus

Kim Coram, whose son Jay is a volunteer at the community garden, wrote a formal complaint to FCA, demanding action.

The mum told The Courier: “It’s a disgrace to talk about anyone like that in this day and age, it’s disgusting.”

In her letter to FCA, Kim said: “This has been a very upsetting and distressing time for the family as a whole.

“My son suffers with severe anxiety and his confidence is rock bottom to be referred to as ‘bloody useless’.

“In my book and plenty of other people’s books in the community this is totally unacceptable.”

The angry mum believes that Ms McCombes had no choice but to resign from her position.

Chris Collins, general manager of Forward Coupar Angus, replied to Kim’s letter stating that an investigation had been launched in to the “serious” allegations.

He said: “FCA does not condone or support views of any description that seek to discriminate against anyone and in particular those people who may be less able.

“We can also confirm that in response to the serious nature of the allegations, the person you name (Ms McCombes) has stepped aside from any involvement in FCA.”

In a further statement, a spokesperson for the charity said: “Forward Coupar Angus will be seeking guidance from a number of regulatory bodies in addressing and resolving the concerns.

“Furthermore, the trustees who are associated with the current situation have stood aside and Mr Joe Richards has been appointed as the interim Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.”

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