Trustees launch emergency appeal as charity teeters on brink of insolvency

The charity Article 25 is on the brink of insolvency after serious financial irregularities were uncovered by trustees.

The police and Charity Commission have been notified about multiple unapproved payments which are believed to total more than £200,000.

An insolvency expert has been appointed to help the charity through the next few weeks.

An immediate investigation was launched after its bank alerted the managing director to the irregular account activity on June 29. Trustees found “what appears to be a systematic falsification of financial statements”.

The charity has published a statement on its website saying office manager and book keeper William Golding was absent on June 29 and has been uncontactable since, although at the time of publication BD understands the cause of the loss is still being investigated and there is no evidence that his absence is related to the financial irregularities.

The trustees said they are determined to save the development and disaster relief charity, which designs and builds projects in some of the world’s most vulnerable places, include Haiti and Nepal.

They mounted a rescue campaign to raise £130,000 in a week. With one day to go £110,000 has already been pledged. Further pledges can be made by calling the charity on 020 3197 9800.

In a statement the charity said: “It is with the very deepest regret that the trustees have had to make the decision to appoint an insolvency expert to guide Article 25 through the coming weeks as insufficient funds are currently available to meet existing liabilities.”

Article 25 – which is named after 25th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which asserts the right to adequate shelter – was founded by former RIBA president Maxwell Hutchinson after he witnessed the devastating effects of the 2004 tsunami. Since then volunteers have built projects on every continent.

Chairman Sunand Prasad: “Article 25 is a charity that belongs to us all and we now need to fight for its survival.

“Countless practices and individual in the UK have helped in some way over the last 10 years to make Article 25 the leading organisation of its type anywhere in the world.

“What has happened is a particularly bitter blow as Article 25 is currently poised to work on some of the most important projects in its history.

“The current circumstance will be of concern to every person who has helped us raise money, our staff and volunteers who give their all in their shared endeavour to improve lives and the thousands of people whose potential access to basic accommodation for health or education is now in jeopardy.”