CONCERNS raised about the way a Swindon advice charity is being run led to more than 100 people crowding its annual meeting.

The Millen Advice Point was formed in 1987 to help Swindon's various immigrant communities.

Last month Swindon Council voted to suspend the bulk of its income, a £25,000 grant, after questions were asked about the management.

Concerns have also been voiced that the management committee is dominated by members of the Pakistani Muslim community to the exclusion of other ethnic groups.

At yesterday's meeting the communities represented included India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kurdistan and Somalia.

Many were hoping to elect new members to the 12-strong management committee.

The meeting had the power to elect six members of the committee, with the others being co-opted from outside organisations.

But many of those who turned up to the meeting at Drove Social Hall were denied a vote on the grounds that they had been not been a member of the charity for long enough.

In the end, the existing management committee was re-elected.

The vote was organised and overseen by a combination of Voluntary Action Swindon, Swindon Racial Equality Council and Swindon Council.

Concerned community member Azim Khan, originally from Pakistan, said: "In the central area you can see people here today concerned that they have no facilities whatsoever.

"They want something for them they are the ones that are in desperate need of some help."

Osman Kanyare was at the meeting along with a large contingent from Swindon's Somali community.

He said: "There are 400 in our community and we don't have anyone on the management committee.

"Unless you've been a member 12 months you don't get vote.

"We have people who need help most and a lot of them don't speak English. I am shocked that we couldn't vote."

During the annual meeting Millen Advice Point treasurer, Abdul Latif, read out the charity's accounts, revealing a total grant income of £29,000, and no questions were raised.

He emphasised that the committee's election was democratic and organised by independent outside bodies.

The question of whether Millen Advice Point's grant is reinstated has yet to be settled by Swindon Council.

Central ward councillor John Taylor (Lab), said: "The fact that there are no new members puts the council in a difficult position."

Jaginder Bassi, from Swindon Racial Equality Council, urged the new committee to take on board the concerns raised at the meeting.