A BUILDER who was paid more than £250,000 for rent and works by a charity which is run by his wife has said he has “done nothing wrong” and “there is nothing to hide”.

Gordon Rudling and his company Godden & Rudling Building Services received a total of £257,263 from Colchester-based Community360 between April 2018 and March 2023.

Documents show £118,251 of that total was used to rent office space on Mr Rudling’s land at Venn Farm while £139,012 was paid to his building company for various works.

Mr Rudling, who has been a builder for 37 years and whose wife Tracy Rudling is the CEO of the charity, has now defended the payments.

Gazette: Boss - Tracy Rudling, who is the CEO of the Colchester-based charity Community360 Boss - Tracy Rudling, who is the CEO of the Colchester-based charity Community360 (Image: Newsquest)
Speaking exclusively to the Gazette, he said: “All I have ever tried to do is protect and look after the charity the best way I possibly can.

“At first I did a little bit of maintenance here and there without charging them and even now there are a lot of times where I do not charge them.

“I have saved them loads of money over the years, as well as loads of money on rent because you don’t ever want to see your loved ones get ripped off.”

The Charity Commission is now looking into the payments, as well as a loan of more than £200,000 given to Mrs Rudling to turn a polytunnel at Venn Farm into a storage facility for Community360.

Mr Rudling says he stopped doing work for the charity several years ago for 18 months after the watchdog previously looked into potential conflicts of interest.

Gazette: Aerial view - the polytunnel at Venn Farm, in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, which has been turned into a storage facility for Community360Aerial view - the polytunnel at Venn Farm, in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, which has been turned into a storage facility for Community360 (Image: Google Maps)
On that occasion Community360 was cleared of any wrongdoing - and Mr Rudling believes assessors will come to the same conclusion this time as well.

“My wife does not get to choose who gets the jobs and everything is put out to tender," he added.

“We have done nothing wrong, there is nothing to hide and there is nothing to answer for."

The Charity Commission has now confirmed they are continuing to assess concerns raised relating to Community360 but have not yet launched a formal investigation.

A spokesman added: “We are reviewing evidence available to us to determine if there is a regulatory role for the commission.”

£200k loan to CEO was used to turn polytunnel into storage facility - not build a new one

A LARGE loan paid by a charity to its own CEO was used to convert an existing polytunnel into a storage facility, and not to build a new one from scratch.

Community360 loaned its boss Tracy Rudling more than £200,000 in the financial year ending 2023, documents submitted to the Charity Commissions reveal.

After being quizzed about the payment, the charity said the money was given to Mrs Rudling for a storage facility which was “built in 2022” on her land at Venn Farm.

The space is said be being used to store goods which are donated to vulnerable people supported by Community360’s Essential Living Fund.

After the revelation, the Gazette struggled to find planning permission for the new facility - but Tracy Rudling's husband, Gordon Rudling, has now explained why that is.

According to Mr Rudling, the storage facility in question is actually a converted polytunnel as opposed to an entirely new structure.

Mr Rudling applied for a change of use back in 2008 but the new storage expansion was not actually completed until last year.

He said: “When we bought the land the polytunnels were already there so we applied for a change of use for one and then in 2010 I put a concrete base in and left it.

“The £200,000 was used to refurbish the car park and lane, to clad the outside frame, and make it watertight for storage.

“The storage facility could increase the value of the farm but not by that much, I don’t think.”

Community360 has since said the loan should be paid back by the end of March and the charity will actually earn £11,600 in interest as a result of loaning the money to Tracy Rudling.