Sunderland women's charity Bridge goes into administration

Four centres in the north east of England to close because of financial difficulties


A Sunderland-based charity that provided training and support to women in the north east has gone into administration with the loss of more than 100 jobs. 

Board members of Bridge have put the charity into administration because of financial difficulties.

Originally set up by a group of local women in 1985, the charity expanded to three centres in Sunderland and another in Durham and employed 58 permanent staff members and 52 sessional workers.

The charity’s latest accounts show that it had an income of £1.1m in 2011 and spent just over £1.1m.

Bridge received financial support from organisations including the Big Lottery Fund, Sunderland City Council and Durham County Council.

Sheila Davidson, chief executive of Bridge, said: "Like many other voluntary organisations, Bridge has continuously struggled with funding difficulties and cash-flow problems and has always managed to ’ride the storm’. 

"However, in this current economic climate we have been faced with many changes and restrictions to central funding within education: this and other factors led to reduced income and the dwindling of reserves."

Gillian Sayburn, insolvency director at Begbies Traynor, which has been appointed as administrator, said: "It is very sad to see an organisation that has played such a key role in the local community over the past 26 years having to close. 

"Bridge established and maintained a link between local women, regardless of age, ethnic background, disability or financial situation, providing access to training that may not have been available elsewhere.

Sayburn said that there was still hope that negotiations between stakeholders could result in parts of the business being rescued.

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