Age UK Blackpool owed £6k to local health service - which wants its cash back

A charity which shut down after getting into financial trouble owed the local NHS almost£6,000, it has been revealed.

Thursday, 6th July 2017, 11:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:58 am

Age UK Blackpool and District called in the administrators after making a loss of more than £20,000 in 2016.

Resort health chiefs said they approached Age UK Lancashire about recovering £5,897.50 owed by the Blackpool branch – only to be told it was ‘not their issue’ as the two are separate charities.

The money related to a service to help people leave hospital the ‘had not been provided for the last two months of the year’, Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said.

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In a report put before the CCG’s board on Tuesday, bosses revealed they were considering reporting the matter to the Charities Commission.

It added: “It was important to note however, that in all contracts of this nature, we need to ensure franchises have the backing of the UK parent charity.”

Age UK brought in £53.9m in donations in 2015/16, its annual report showed, while Blackpool CCG was forced to make millions of pounds of savings.

A spokeswoman yesterday said the charity, ‘like every other local Age UK, is not a franchise but an independent charity with its own board of trustees, registered with the Charity Commission’.

In January, administrators were called in after Age UK said its Blackpool and District branch was facing ‘financial challenges’.

The service, which was spending more money than is was bringing in, ran three local shops – on Highfield Road, Whitegate Drive and Red Bank Road – which shut down, although the Bispham branch has since been reopened by Age UK Lancashire.

Andrew Harrison, (pictured) chief finance director at Blackpool CCG, said: “Discussions are ongoing with the relevant parties to retrieve the outstanding monies, and we are hopeful a resolution can be reached soon.”

Though the service, which offered short-term help for people to recover at home following a hospital stay, ended in January, similar programmes are commissioned elsewhere to support patients, a spokesman added.