4Children closes with about 65 job losses

The financially troubled charity has managed to transfer most of its 1,050 staff and front-line services to other organisations, including Action for Children

The children’s charity 4Children has closed with the loss of about 65 staff, the charity’s administrators have confirmed, although the bulk of its employees and services have been transferred to other providers.

A statement from the accountancy firm Smith & Williamson, which was appointed administrator of 4Children yesterday, said the charity had encountered financial difficulties because of the loss of key contracts and funding pressures.

But it said most of the charity’s 1,050 staff and its front-line services would be transferred to other organisations.

Action for Children has taken over more than 60 per cent of 4Children’s services and more than 750 of its staff.

Most of the remaining services and more than 200 staff will be transferred to local councils or other local service providers.

Smith & Williamson confirmed that three of the charity’s 142 sites have closed and about 65 staff would be made redundant.

According to the Charity Commission website, 4Children had an income of more than £29m in the year to 31 March 2015 and an expenditure of more than £32m. More than 45,000 children are registered with the charity’s children’s centres nationwide, with 9,500 using the charity’s other services, such as nurseries or short breaks.

A statement on the Action for Children website from 4Children said that although the charity had ceased operating "the change of management should not affect the day-to-day operation of our services and the support available for parents and children".

Imelda Redmond, chief executive of 4Children, said the decision to merge many of its services with Action for Children had been made in the long-term interests of children and families.

"Recent changes in our contract portfolio and broader funding pressures have led trustees to pursue this managed transfer, which will strengthen the position of front-line services to withstand these pressures while continuing to deliver high-quality support," she said.

Adam Stephens, lead joint administrator of 4Children, said: "Smith & Williamson has been assisting 4Children for the past few months in identifying the various financial options available to it. It was apparent that the best option was to negotiate a transfer of the services to another not-for-profit organisation. In the end, this has involved far more than just a transfer to Action for Children.

"Overall, this has been a very significant task, including negotiating with more than 30 different parties, each requiring different terms. These have all been undertaken concurrently with the aim of all transfers occurring at the same time. As a result, almost all of 4Children’s 1,050 or so employees have a new employer.

"We are anticipating that thousands of children will be able to continue to access the same services, and the team is working very closely with Action for Children and all local providers to ensure as smooth a transfer of services as possible."

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