Children's charity goes into administration, with 50 jobs threatened

The Hop, Skip & Jump Foundation, which operates in north-west and south-west England, had a bad year in 2018/19, posting a deficit of nearly £223,000

A children’s charity based in north-west and south-west England has gone into administration, with 50 jobs at risk.

The Hop, Skip & Jump Foundation, which operates in Liverpool, Wigan, Swindon, Bristol and the Cotswolds, runs centres equipped with sensory rooms, soft-play facilities and art rooms, as well as services to support families and carers.

But a bad financial year in 2018/19 means the charity has entered administration.

The administrators have kept the charity’s 50 staff in place while it reviews the options for the charity, including whether a sale could be brokered.

The charity’s accounts for the year to 31 March 2019 show that it had an operating deficit of £222,996 on an income of just under £1m.

The deficit happened because of a reduction in fundraising and an increase in staff costs, the accounts say.

The charity had tried to encourage its centres to increase local fundraising, the accounts say, and it contracted an external fundraising team.

The Charity Commission’s website shows that income rose to £1.2m in the year to 31 January 2018, more than eight times the charity’s income in 2014/15.

But income fell back in this year’s accounts to £974,326, while spending continued to increase, from £1m in 2017/18 to £1.2m.

Graham Randall and Mark Roach of the business advisory firm Quantuma have been appointed the joint administrators for the charity.

Randall said in a statement: “It is unfortunate to see this long-established charity fall into administration.

“Charities like Hop, Skip & Jump are reliant on funding and donations to stay afloat, and the recent downturn in support has had a significant impact on cash flow.

“The joint administrators are reviewing the options for the business, which include the possibility of a sale of either the whole or part of the business, most likely to a similar charity that will continue to provide the excellent range of services that Hop, Skip & Jump has developed over a number of years.”

A spokesperson for the charity trustees said: “In collaboration with the joint administrators, we are working tirelessly with local authorities and other agency stakeholders to ensure continuity of care to all those who rely on our services.”

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