Lowestoft charity to jump back into action

A LOWESTOFT charity that offers support and advice to young people has vowed to bounce back into action next month after being forced to suspend its activities over the summer.

In June, JUMP UK was forced to call a temporary halt to its weekly youth clubs and its mentoring and training services after complaints were made against its founder and chief executive Louise Botwright.

As a result of the allegations made to the Charity Commission and the Big Lottery Fund, JUMP UK's new headquarters at Boston Lodge youth club, in Boston Road, has been unavailable to youngsters for more than two months.

However, this week Miss Botwright and Jump UK's new-look board of trustees pledged the centre would reopen next month – claiming the allegations would prove to be totally unfounded.

And they were also keen to scotch rumours that the police were investigating the charity.

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Miss Botwright, 26, who formed JUMP UK five years ago to improve young people's lives, told The Journal the allegations and the resulting suspension of the charity's activities had affected her personally.

She said: 'The last two months have been the hardest of my life. I was signed off with stress and some nasty things were being said about me. One of the hardest things was not being able to help young people in the area.

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'But now we're hoping to bounce back into action. We should be up and running by the end of September.'

JUMP UK moved to Boston Lodge in April, taking over the centre after it was left vacant as a result of cuts to youth services made by Suffolk County Council.

The charity has spent �12,000 on installing new equipment, including a gym and it provides regular weekly youth clubs there for up to 80 young people.

Because of the allegations, the Big Lottery Fund ceased its funding to the charity, forcing it to suspend its activities.

However, the centre has remained open to other groups that use it, including Mind and Leap.

JUMP UK has contracted a specialist charity solicitor to represent it and, to help it develop its services, it has appointed new trustees with charity and business management experience.

In a statement released this week, Miss Botwright and Braith Bryant, the chairman of the trustees, said: 'The activities provided by the charity were suspended due to complaints made against Louise Botwright to the Charity Commission and Big Lottery Fund. Any public body receiving such complaints is duty bound to investigate and as the Big Lottery Fund is a major funding stream, funding was suspended. We have been working closely with the Charity Commission and Big Lottery Fund to respond to and respond to those complaints fully.

'We now await response from the Charity Commission and will endeavour to update all concerned parties fully, once we have been contacted. Allegations and rumours generated that the chief executive Louise Botwright or the charity JUMP UK is being investigated by Suffolk Police are wholly untrue.

'We fully support Louise Botwright in her role and will continue to do so.'

The Charity Commission has confirmed it is not formally investigating JUMP UK and as soon as it has compiled a report it should free up the Big Lottery Fund to release further funds.

Suffolk police also confirmed they were not investigating the youth organisation.

JUMP UK can still be contacted by email via its website at www.jump.org.uk

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