Palfrey Community Association: Dozens lose jobs as nursery centre closes
Palfrey Community Association has gone into liquidation, leaving dozens of people out of work and parents without a nursery for their children.
The association, which was managed by the former leader of Walsall's Labour group Councillor Sean Coughlan, ran Palfrey Community Centre on Milton Street.
The centre offered a day nursery as well as a youth club, adult learning sessions and a fitness centre before it closed suddenly on Friday night.
A spokesman for Palfrey Community Association said: "Directors at Palfrey Community Association Ltd took the regrettable decision to cease trading at their board meeting on Friday April 12 with all community activities and services provided by the registered charity ceasing at 6pm on that day.
"All staff have been laid off and asked to stay at home on unpaid leave pending an immediate professional analysis of the severity of the organisations financial position before a final decision will be made on the future.
"The charity had been utilising its reserves in an attempt to maintain the services provided for some time but this was unfortunately no longer financially sustainable."
The announcement comes more than two years after the association lost the contract to run Sure Start Palfrey Children's Centre.
It is understood the association, which at one stage boasted millions in reserves, owes Walsall Council £140,000 and employed somewhere in the region of 50-60 people.
The leader of the council, Councillor Mike Bird, said: "They owe us a lot of money and as far as I am aware the reserves that were well over £1 million have gone.
"We do not know what has gone on but we will be trying to assist the community association in order to recover the money."
Palfrey councillor Mohammed Nazir described the liquidation as sad news.
He said: "When organisations in my ward that provide services to local residents cease to operate it is always sad news.
"Palfrey Community Association was providing lots of local services so it is very sad to see it go."
One parent, who asked not to be named, added: "This is a shocking state of affairs. I have watched this area go downhill in the last five years and this is another important site lost."
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