Charity in financial strife to wind down

A CHARITY’S financial woes are forcing it to cease operating after 23 years.

Hastings Trust, based in Robertson Street, is to wind down over the next six months, which will mean nine to 10 staff will be leaving the organisation.

The charity, which has facilitated a number of projects focusing on community-led regeneration, has recently undergone significant changes in management.

In January this year, Leslie Brissett was appointed interim CEO, replacing Mel Bonney-Kane, and last month Esther Brown was elected as the trust’s new chairman.

At a board meeting on April 4, the trustees agreed to begin a managed wind down of the organisation.

Ms Brown said: “Winding down has not been an easy decision.

“The trustees and I have worked hard to be honest with ourselves and think about what is best for the borough in the present economic climate.

“There are organisations now doing things that at one time only Hastings Trust did, and we need to work with partners to secure future sustainable development trust work in the borough.”

In the last five years Hastings Trust has generated more than £3.5 million in charitable funds, supported 22,000 volunteer hours, however as the organisation has grown it has faced increasing challenges.

The decision was prompted by the ongoing issue of income generation to sustain the trust, and action was needed to prevent the organisation from become insolvent before the end of the year.

It has been agreed that a priority will be to ensure the charity’s assets, including tenanted properties, will be best used to serve the community.

Hastings Trust plans to work with partners to ensure that the current Enablers and Eco Fab programmes can be completed, with regular updates to be provided to interested parties.

Ms Brown added that she did not rule out the possibility of a ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’ of the charity.