A legal advice charity which has supported London residents for two decades has decided to cease trading after being told that its financial position had got worse.
In a statement posted on its website, Advising Communities' board of trustees said the decision was not taken lightly.
The statement said: 'Following a board meeting on 10 April, and subsequent independent financial advice, it has been decided by the trustees that unfortunately the financial position of the company means that it is appropriate to engage an insolvency practitioners. Professional advice has been sought from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and FRP Advisory LLP and all possible options have been considered.
'You will appreciate that we have not taken this decision lightly. The relevant processes will now be followed. The board recognises the commitment and contribution of the staff and volunteer team at AC and would like to thank them for their commitment and loyalty.'
The board was informed last month by FRP Advisory 'that our financial position had worsened'.
'Having reviewed all options available to the board, we have taken the advice to cease trading in order to limit further liabilities. We are also very sorry that we will be unable to continue our work with residents of Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham, Wandsworth and across all London boroughs and that we have been unable to give more notice to our clients and stakeholders,' the board said.
According to Advising Communities' report for the year ended 31 March 2018, its achievements to help individuals that year included resolving 6,950 legal issues and preventing 169 people from being evicted or becoming homeless. It received more than 600 calls from people wanting to book an appointment, 'vastly outstripping what we are able to provide'.
Of those who used the charity's services in 2017, 60% had a disability, 13% had a mental health condition, 70% were migrants, 56% were local authority or housing association tenants, 87% were not employed full time, and 75% were from black, asian or minority ethnic communities.
The report said the charity managed to slowly grow the organisation 'despite a very challenging funding environment'. Objectives for 2018-2021 included removing barriers and increase access for marginalised and vulnerable groups.
Its statement of financial activities for the year ended 31 March 2018 showed a total income of £1.29m and a total expenditure of £1.28m. Its net income was £10,869.
Plumstead Community Law Centre tweeted yesterday that it was 'sad to hear that London has lost another advice centre' and told other advice providers and law centres to 'keep on going!'.