Charity will be wound up at midnight

The future of the Fox Street Community, which cares for up to 20 homeless men in the city centre, looks secure.
The future of the Fox Street Community, which cares for up to 20 homeless men in the city centre, looks secure.

Defunct housing charity Methodist Action is expected to be officially wound up within the next 24 hours.

The Post understands members of the Preston-based organisation will meet tonight to formally put it into voluntary liquidation at midnight.

But the future of around 150 housing tenants - and up to 20 homeless men at the Fox Street Community in the city centre - looks almost certain to be secured.

It is believed a salvage operation involving an alternative housing provider has been going on for the past three weeks and an announcement could be made within days.

Methodist Action (North West), which was launched in Preston in 2011, dropped a bombshell exactly four weeks ago when it announced financial problems over the last few years had left it with no option but seek voluntary liquidation.

The charity, which had its foundations in the congregation of the Central Methodist Church in Lune Street as far back as 1978, made losses of almost £400k in 2015/16 and a further £267k in 2016/17. The figures for 2017/18 have not been published.

Ken Wales, co-chair of the board of trustees, told the Post two weeks ago: “I am devastated by what has happened. It was the last thing we wanted to do. Quite simply it’s a cash flow situation.

"It has been costing us more to run the organisation over a number of years than the income we have been getting.”

Around 50 private landlords, who own the houses the charity’s tenants live in, have been taking legal advice about the future of their properties.

It is not clear what will happen to staff at the charity, which has its headquarters in Penwortham. But the Post understands their jobs could also be secured if a new operator takes over in the next few days.