Age UK has sought to reassure people that money intended to benefit older people in Stamford will still be spent in the town following the collapse of a local charity.
Age UK Kesteven – an independent charity and Age UK ‘brand partner’ – used to provide advice to the over 50s in Stamford, Grantham, Sleaford and surrounding areas on a range of issues. It also offered home and day support services.
But after experiencing serious financial difficulties the charity was closed in January of this year.
Prior to its closure, Age UK Kesteven had control of a pot of money intended solely for the provision of services for older people in Stamford.
Accounts for the year ending March 31, 2015, show the fund at that time stood at £107,359.83.
The Mercury has been contacted by local residents who were concerned the money might have been lost when the charity closed.
One woman, who asked not to be named, said: “Age UK Kesteven were custodians of this fund that came about as a result of the closure and sale of the Darby and Joan Club in Stamford in 2005.
“The money was lodged with Age UK for safe-keeping and was only to be used for the benefit of older people in Stamford when new projects or services could be delivered.
“We want to know where this money was spent.”
The woman, whose grandmother had been a user of Age UK Kesteven’s services, said she understood that when the charity closed there was less than £40,000 left in the Stamford fund.
Age UK told the Mercury that Age UK Kesteven ceased trading on January 29, 2016, after facing “significant financial challenges”.
A spokesperson said: “Following a review of the financial situation and costs of its closure, Age UK Kesteven applied to the Charity Commission for de-restriction of the Stamford Benefit Fund to allow Age UK Kesteven to fulfil its financial responsibilities. This request was approved by the Charity Commission and a small amount of the Fund was used in the closure of Age UK Kesteven.
“In January 2016, prior to the closure, a commitment was made that any funds remaining would be used for the benefit of older people in the Stamford area and that these funds would be held by Age UK until decisions are made on their use.
“Age UK Lincoln will be expanding its reach to develop services in the Kesteven area, including Stamford, and the charity is keen to discuss how best to use the remaining funds with older people in the area and the original donors of the Fund.”
The spokesperson would not reveal how much money is left in the fund, but added: “Age UK Kesteven continued to run its full services for 10 months after the previous year’s accounts, until the end of January 2016.
“Age UK Kesteven was an independent charity and we are unable to comment on the specific details of its funding and expenditure.”