A MAJOR East Lancashire charity which helped unemployed people into work will have to be wound up, its administrators have concluded.

Blackburn-headquartered Bootstrap Enterprises no longer has the income or assets to meet its debts, accountant Mazars LLP concluded.

The 32-year-old charity based in Railway Road, which specialised in finding work for ‘vulnerable’ clients, went into administration in October.

Now Patrick Lannagan and Conrad Pearson from Mazars have concluded there is no chance of rescuing the organisation as a going concern.

Their official report reveals two demands from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for VAT and PAYE tax arrears of £200,000 in August 2018 and £470,000 in August 2019 were the final nails in the charity’s financial coffin.

It says by 2014 Bootstrap was ‘particularly successful’ generating an annual surplus of £615,000 largely from payment by results from the government’s Work Programme and employing 134 staff.

During 2016 it took out a bank overdraft and won new contracts ‘targeting disadvantaged groups’.

However in 2017 existing contracts started to end and new ones could not be found and surpluses turned into losses of more than £200,000 a year.

Despite deferring payments to HMRC and trying to sell their Blackburn headquarters and Manchester Road Burnley office the finances continued to deteriorate and a potential merger with an American charity collapsed.

In October administrators were appointed with 60 staff still at work to complete existing programmes. Eight, including the chief executive and finance director, were immediately made redundant to save costs and 18 more transferred to a partner organisation Ingeus UK.

Bootstrap then vacated its satellite offices in Nelson and Accrington, closed its bookshop in The Mall Blackburn, chased old debts and sought new contracts but had to make more staff redundant. In total 27 have been transferred, 24 made redundant and nine remain in post.

The administrators’ report concludes after investigating Bootstrap’s financial affairs they should wind up the charity through a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation provided there was enough money to pay the main creditors and, if not, seek to formally declare the company insolvent and dissolve it.