Colchester: CoastNet charity goes into administration after hitting financial problems

A national Essex-based charity working with under-privileged people has collapsed after hitting financial problems.

The board of trustees of CoastNet – The Coastal Network, which has offices in Rowhedge, near Colchester, and also in Devonport in Plymouth, has placed the charity into administration. The charity also had seven directors/trustees.

Its eight employees – three of which were directly based in Colchester - have been made redundant, although there is a possibility they could be offered future employment if talks on the transfer of projects are fruitful, administrators said. A further three staff were based in Plymouth, and the others between sites.

CoastNet, which was established in 1996, was the only national charity dedicated to sustainable development of the UK’s coasts. It worked on projects to help improve the quality of life of underprivileged people living in coastal communities through education, community and social enterprise.

Lee De’ath and Richard Toone, insolvency practitioners at accountancy firm Chantrey Vellacott DFK have been appointed joint administrators.

Mr De’ath, partner at Chantrey Vellacott DFK’s Colchester offices on Balkerne Hill, confirmed that the administrators are in discussions with a number of parties to try and transfer the management of CoastNet’s projects.

“CoastNet worked to support underprivileged communities through a range of projects, from cricket on the beach to educational trips away,” he said.

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“Due to insufficient funding some of the projects are now unfortunately unable to go ahead, although we are in talks with more than one organisation with the objective of transferring some of the on-going projects.

“Regretfully due to limited funding available the administrators have had to make the company’s staff redundant, should however our discussion with parties for the transfer of projects be successful it may result in some of the staff being offered future employment.

“Chantrey Vellacott DFK has strong expertise in the charity sector, acting for around 400 not-for-profit organisations across the UK. We currently are in the process of carrying out a full review of CoastNet’s assets and hope to be able to reach a resolution whereby some of the work started by the charity can continue.”

CoastNet chairman, John Lant, added: “We are very sad to see the charity being forced to take this difficult decision but the trustees acted decisively and responsibly once the scale of the financial challenges facing CoastNet were identified.

“The administrators are exploring all possible options for resolving the future of CoastNet’s outstanding project commitments.”

All enquiries in relation to the administration of CoastNet – The Coastal Network should be directed to Chantrey Vellacott DFK on 01206 578004.