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Generous donors have helped the Findhorn Foundation weather a devastating fire and the pandemic’s financial storm

CEO of Findhorn Foundation Caroline Matters and business manager Shaun Vincent are pictured.
CEO of Findhorn Foundation Caroline Matters and business manager Shaun Vincent are pictured.

Kind-hearted donors contributing more than £1m have ensured the survival of the Findhorn Foundation.

It is fair to say that the last two years has been a rollercoaster for the charity behind the spiritual community.

The charity’s vital income disappeared from its residential courses as the country plummeted into lockdown.

This resulted in 50 redundancies.

Last April, long-term staff member Joseph Clark burned down the community centre and main meditation sanctuary in revenge for being made redundant. 

The fire caused £400,000 worth of damage.

Court case

Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald ordered him to carry out 300 hours of unpaid community work and placed him on three years’ social work supervision.

This comes after he spent over four months in custody.

Mr Clark was informed in December 2020 that he would be made redundant in April 2021 after 16 years service at the Moray community.

However on April 12, he set fire to the centre and the sanctuary, reducing them both to rubble after the roofs and walls collapsed.

What the community centre used to look like.

Impact of devastating fire and lockdowns

CEO Caroline Matters reflected on the last two years: “It’s been an extremely difficult time for us.

“When the country plummeted into lockdown overnight we lost all our income.

“Well, the redundancies weren’t on the horizon before Covid.

“Half of our costs are staffing and so there was no alternative.

“Meanwhile, the fire could have killed people.

“We were just so relieved that nobody was actually injured at all and it shocked us as it was something we knew really dearly.

CEO of Findhorn Foundation Caroline Matters and business manager Shaun Vincent are pictured.

She added: “We want to make a bigger impact locally and support the wider community.

“We still want people to come and visit the foundation but going forward the balance between in-person and online will be key.

“This pandemic has affected people in different ways and we want to provide support to people whether that’s in our garden or other things.

“As well as that we want to maximise our income to ensure we can continue to be a successful Scottish charity.

Generous key to keeping the charity going

Financial donations have flooded in to help the organisation weather the pandemic’s financial storm and aid efforts to rebuild the two iconic buildings.

Business manager Shaun Vincent who joined in July has the difficult task of finding ways to boost funds for the charity as it aims to bounceback.

He said: “Without our donors, I’m not sure we would be here today.

“And it was their generosity that allowed the foundation to survive through Covid.

“I think the phrase at one point was how on Earth are we going to come through this.

“Donors have contributed in the excess of £1m per year.

“It is fair to say that Covid has given us a kick up the backside to ramp up our fund raising capacity.

“We are quietly positive about the future and looking to improve our online courses to boost income.”

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