Article 25 faces insolvency following unaccounted spending

Article 25 faces insolvency following £200,000 of unaccounted spending

Architecture charity Article 25 has launched an urgent appeal for donations to avoid insolvency, after discovering a £200,000 hole in its accounts.

UK-based Article 25, which was set up in 2004 to provide architecture in areas affected by disaster, has been responsible for providing sanitation facilities in Haiti and a school in Sierra Leone.

But the charity has now been forced to launch an emergency appeal to stay afloat, after trustees discovered unaccounted-for payments amounting to more than £200,000 in its bank statements.

The charity was first notified of the irregularity in its accounts on 29 June. Both the police and the UK Charity Commission have since been notified of falsified financial statements, which masked the multiple unapproved payments.

According to a statement from the charity, office book keeper William Golding was absent from work on Monday 29 June and has not been contactable since this date.

"On Monday June 29, the managing director of Article 25 was made aware by its bank of irregular account activity," said a statement from the charity.

"The Trustees of Article 25 have now uncovered what appears to be a systematic falsification of financial statements that have hidden multiple unapproved payments, which are believed to be in excess of £200,000."

The charity now has insufficient funds to fulfil its existing financial obligations and has called in an insolvency expert to consult help explore its options.

However, a statement issued by the organisation says: "The trustees are determined to do what they can to avoid the liquidation of Article 25."

The charity must raise funds amounting to at least £130,000 by Friday 10 July to prevent insolvency. Donations of £110,000 have been collected over the last week.

The news comes just six months after fellow not-for-profit organisation Architecture for Humanity was forced to closed its San Francisco headquarters due to lack of funding.

"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," said the charity's chairman, architect Sunand Prasad.

"Article 25 is a charity that belongs to us all and we now need to fight for its survival. Countless practices and individuals 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."

The UK charity was founded by British architect and broadcaster Maxwell Hutchinson following the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004, to provide architectural services for areas devastated by disaster.

It is currently working on projects in Haiti, Nepal and Pakistan to provide health and education facilities, as well as earthquake-resistant housing that is hoped will lessen the impact of future disaster.

Formerly know as Architecture for Aid, the charity changed its name in 2008 to Article 25 after the 25th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the right to adequate living standards.

Article 25 recently created an installation for Clerkenwell Design Week to help revive a public green. An African school created by the charity also made it on to the shortlist for the World Building of the Year 2015.

Photograph is of Gourcy School Project in Burkina Faso.