A MAJOR East Lancashire charity which helps unemployed people into work has gone into administration putting 59 jobs at risk.

Blackburn-based Bootstrap Enterprises will continue to operate supporting its 1,700 clients while accountants Mazars LLP look to secure a rescue deal after the organisation was hit by ‘cash flow difficulties’.

The 32-year-old charity based in Railway Road which employs 59 staff also has centres in Burnley, Accrington, Nelson, Clitheroe and Rawtenstall.

It assists unemployed people into jobs by providing work experience, skills training and support in gaining qualifications as well as business development support to jobless individuals considering self-employment

The charity has a reputation for helping find employment for ‘vulnerable’ clients including the disabled, recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, those with mental health problems and the homeless.

It also provides support to community and voluntary groups seeking to develop social enterprises.

Cllr Jamie Groves, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s representative on and chair of Bootstrap’s board of trustees, said: “This is very, very sad news. The charity has done some fantastic work.”

Patrick Lannagan and Conrad Pearson of Mazars LLP were appointed joint administrators of the Bootstrap Company (Blackburn) Limited on Thursday.

It is the second Blackburn charity to get into financial difficulties this year following the winding up of six-year-old youth empowerment organisation SLYNCS in May.

Mr Lannagan said: “Unfortunately the charity has experienced cash flow difficulties which have led the trustees to take the difficult decision to place the company into administration.

“The charity has a tremendous reputation in this sector, helping unemployed people to improve their job prospects, particularly working with those who are most disadvantaged in the labour market.

“Our priority is to ensure continuity of service and support for all service users, whilst we work with the company’s committed and experienced staff and contractual partners to find the best solution.

“We will be writing to all creditors over the next few days but would encourage anyone with an interest in taking over the company’s operations to contact us.”

He stressed that Bootstrap, established in 1987, would continue to operate as normal.

Cllr Andy Kay, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s resources boss, said: “It is sad. Bootstrap has been a very, very good organisation.

“I suppose over recent years with the number of government changes to training services and the funding regime it had become very difficult for them.”

His Conservative group shadow Cllr Colin Rigby said: “I know Bootstrap did a lot of good work. This is very unfortunate. We really cannot afford to lose this type of resource which helps the vulnerable and disadvantaged into work.”

Mr Lannagan said existing contracts with providers would be honoured and service users should continue to attend appointments as normal.

In 2017/18 Bootstrap had an income of £2.4million and expenditure of £2.6m.