Drug-checking not-for-profit organisation The Loop has been granted charity status by the Charity Commission and has appointed its first CEO Katy Porter.

The Charity Commission undertook a legal review of The Loop’s activities and determined drug checking as a legal and charitable activity in the UK.

The Loop, which already had a Home Office license for drug checking, said its new status will provide the organisation with a strong platform to “develop services, reach wider communities and more individuals, and greater opportunity to secure further funding to do so”. It has also received a grant from independent grant giving trust The Tudor Trust.

Porter (pictured) is an experienced senior manager in health care and trustee/vice chair for youth homeless charity Depaul UK. The Loop has also brought in full-time administrator Ursh Skeet.

For the past 10 years, The Loop has been run as a not-for-profit CIC by its founder and director Professor Fiona Measham, chair in criminology at the University of Liverpool.

Measham has become chair of the board of trustees, alongside Darren Knight, chief executive of the HIV charity George House Trust, and Jon Drape, director of festival production company Engine No. 4, founder of the Festival Safe campaign and patron of accessibility charity Attitude Is Everything.

Porter said, “It is an amazing time to join The Loop. All the continued energy and commitment of so many over the past 10 years has enabled us to get to this next stage in our development. The recognition and registration as a charity will mean that our health services and the important information we generate through drug checking will now reach more people in more places across the UK, and greatly assist in reducing drug-related harm.”

Measham said, “The Loop is very lucky to have the experience and skills of Katy to drive the next stage in our development, for what is now very much a full-time job. The board is delighted to have appointed her.”

The Loop said it will advertise for new trustees at a future date, through charity trustee and specialist finance channels.