Major charity owed £100k by the defunct fundraising agency Neet Feet

Action for Children appears unlikely to be able to recover the money, owed after Neet Feet went into voluntary liquidation in the summer

Neet Feet: closed after The Sun printed allegations
Neet Feet: closed after The Sun printed allegations

The door-to-door fundraising agency Neet Feet owed the charity Action for Children almost £100,000 when it closed down in the summer following an undercover investigation by The Sun newspaper.

According to a statement of affairs document filed with Companies House, the agency owed the charity £99,059 at the time of its closure, which came just weeks after it was claimed in the newspaper in July that the agency was employing fundraisers who targeted elderly people with aggressive doorstep techniques.

The document, produced by the liquidator Ninos Koumettou of the insolvency firm Alexander Lawson Jacobs in August, shows the agency also owed the disability charity Scope £10,800, the National Deaf Children’s Society £5,000 and the suicide prevention charity Samaritans £4,000.

Neet Feet’s unpaid debt totalled £499,119, according to the document.

Action for Children and Neet Feet both confirmed that the amount owed to the charity was to reimburse the fee it had paid to sign up regular givers who had then not gone on to donate.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: "The money we are owed by Neet Feet is for face-to-face fundraising services that we employed the company to deliver."

However, while the charity insists it is owed the full £99,059 amount, Jez O’Neill, one of the agency’s former directors, told Third Sector that the figures recorded in the company’s statement of affairs were no longer accurate and that the debt had reduced since then, although he said he was unsure exactly what the latest figure was.

He said Action for Children itself owed the agency £43,000 but the charity said this amount had already been taken into account when the £99,059 figure was produced.

O’Neill said the agency did £1m worth of work on Action for Children’s behalf with the last financial year, saying that the amount owed now was not a "huge amount in the scheme of things".

The statement of affairs indicates that the debts to the charities are unlikely to be paid off because the company’s assets were likely to realise just £10,000, which was payable to the agency’s "preferential creditors", namely its employees, who were owed £20,455 in wage arrears and holiday pay.

The document also shows that Neet Feet also owed Lloyds Tsb Commercial Finance £186,078. O’Neill said the agency had an invoice factoring facility with Lloyds, which meant that the bank advanced it the money it was owed by clients and then invoiced the clients directly.

He said £146,000 of the total owed to Lloyds was owed by two former charity clients, who he declined to name.

He said this money, if it comes in, would go to Lloyds, as a secured creditor.

Unsecured creditors, including Neet Feet’s customers and HM Revenue & Customs, were owed a total of £312,941, the document shows.

"My guess is that if the money comes in, some of it will end up with the charities," said O’Neill. "But I don’t know. There are ongoing legal discussions between various creditors.  I have no idea what the final situation is going to be."

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