Charities including the Meningitis Research Foundation, Help for Heroes and the Teenage Cancer Trust could be at risk of losing thousands of pounds of donations after a charity expedition company went into receivership.
About 39 student fundraisers for the MRF received an email saying the company, called Student Adventures, had gone into receivership while they were at Gatwick Airport last night ready to fly out to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro.
The email, which came from the company’s receivers, Smith Cooper, said that GBCE Ltd – which trades as Student Adventures – had ceased to trade and would not be able to provide any services to the fundraisers during their trip, a spokeswoman for the MRF said.
The participants, who were students from Nottingham University, contacted the MRF last night and a staff member went to the airport to provide support.
The students, who had each raised thousands of pounds in sponsorship to climb Africa’s highest mountain, went home instead of taking their flight to Tanzania.
The company’s website lists 14 charities it worked with, including the MRF, Help for Heroes, the Teenage Cancer Trust and Diabetes UK.
Jane Futrell, head of communications and campaigns at MRF, said that the money raised for the charity through sponsorship had already been received.
Asked if the charity stood to lose the funds because the students had not completed their challenge, Futrell said the charity was exploring whether they could still fulfil the challenge and, where this was not possible, it would be up to donors as to whether they wanted their money back, with cases decided on an individual basis.
She said a further eight students fundraising for MRF had been due to fly out to Tanzania today with the company, and 125 more had been due to travel in September.
Each student had a minimum sponsorship target of £2,850, according to the Student Adventures website.
Futrell said MRF has been actively tracking down the participants to inform them of the company’s closure and that it was posting updates on its website and on Facebook and Twitter.
Student teams from Oxford, Cambridge, Loughborough, Birmingham, Warwick, Surrey, Kent and Portsmouth universities were due to depart on fundraising expeditions with Student Adventures over the coming months.
A call to the number listed on Student Adventures website was answered by a message-taking service that said it was no longer working with the company.