Housing charity goes into liquidation, affecting tenants in Preston, South Ribble and Lancaster

The Central Methodist Church in Lune Street, Preston where the charity has its roots.
The Central Methodist Church in Lune Street, Preston where the charity has its roots.
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A Lancashire housing charity has gone into liquidation, putting the future of more than 150 tenants at risk.

Methodist Action (North West) Ltd, which provides accommodation for homeless and vulnerable adults in Preston, South Ribble and Lancaster, dropped the bombshell this afternoon after admitting it had ceased operating due to financial problems.

It is believed the shock news will hit at least 150 tenants and up to 50 private landlords who lease their properties to the charity.

And it could also affect the Fox Street Community which looks after up to 20 homeless men in Preston city centre.

A short statement from the independent charity said: "The board of Methodist Action North West met on Monday evening with an insolvency practitioner and, in view of the financial position, has resolved to place the charity into voluntary liquidation.

"All creditors and interested parties will be notified directly. The board is acting urgently with local authorities and others to preserve the interests of our tenants."

One landlord, who leases 13 properties to the charity. told the Post: "It's an absolute scandal and what has happened here needs investigating.

"This charity was set up to stop vulnerable people dropping through the cracks in society and to get people off the streets. Most of them have come from either being homeless or being in shelters.

"As landlords we have donated our properties to Methodist Action to use for housing these unfortunate people and for that we just get housing benefit when all costs have been deducted.

"There must be about 150 properties affected in Preston and South Ribble alone and a few more up in Lancaster. As far as I'm aware there are at least 40 to 50 landlords in the same boat as me.

"I have been seeking legal advice about what to do next. But what you've got is 150 tenants living in properties where they don't have any support from the charity anymore. They are now classed as homeless.

"I've talked to other landlords and they are clambering to get legal advice on what to do next."

Methodist Action, which is independent of the Methodist Church, has its roots in Preston and the congregation of the Central Methodist Church in Lune Street dating back to 1978.

Their work with the homeless led to the foundation of the Fox Street Community in 2008 and then the establishment of a charity to work as an umbrella organisation. Methodist Action (Preston in Central Lancashire) was set up in 2010 and a year later the charity changed its name to Methodist Action (North West) Ltd.

The charity has been working with Preston, South Ribble and Lancaster Councils who may now have to find the tenants alternative accommodation.

The Methodist Church and Preston City Council have been approached for comment.