A CHARITY for vulnerable children faced with losing hundreds of pounds following the collapse of a Southampton conference centre will get its money back.

CIS’ters had booked the Eastpoint Centre in Thornhill in April to host a conference aimed at safeguarding children.

The charity had condemned those running the centre after the cheque it sent to pay for the event was cleared – the day the centre went into administration.

CIS’ters treasurer Gillian Finch told the Daily Echo how after booking the event last year she sent a cheque for the deposit of £600 to the centre at the start of January.

She said: “I just cannot believe that the money would be taken by the centre when at that point they would have known full well there was never any chance that they would be able to host our conference.

“No one from the centre has ever contacted me. I only found out that it was in trouble through the paper. I just can’t believe that they would do this to a charity.

“That money would pay for a month’s rent for our organisation, so to lose it is not alright. Our supporters work very hard to raise money to keep our organisation going. We cannot afford to lose hundreds of pounds.”

But administrators Baker Tilly said that the money would be refunded to CIS’ters and that the cheque clearing on the same day the centre went bust was a coincidence.

Sandy Kinninmonth, pictured right, partner at Baker Tilly, said: “I can’t be completely sure but what likely happened was that the office staff at Eastpoint collected the cheque and passed it to the bank as normal before they knew about the administration.

“That we were appointed on the same day it cleared is a coincidence. The office staff did the right thing because they were trying to collect as much money as they could before our appointment.

“That money will be returned to them though, as will any money for a pre-booked event that will no longer happen.”

Up to 70 delegates were expected at the event at the Eastpoint Centre for the conference, which was entitled ‘How to listen so that children will talk’.

Those who work with safeguarding children in the region were expected to attend the event by CIS’ters – a charity which helps to support victims of childhood sexual abuse by family members.

Now the charity must find a new location and cover the cost of reprinting the posters and flyers advertising the event.

As previously reported by the Daily Echo, the Eastpoint Centre closed on Wednesday after administrators decided that it was no longer financially viable to continue running it.

They are now looking to sell on the assets of the business, as no bids to take on the company as a going concern came forward.

It has also emerged that the building itself cannot be sold off by administrators.

The Daily Echo revealed how a clause in the lease of the Eastpoint Centre meant that once it went into administration, ownership transferred to the Plus You Ltd charity in Thornhill, which owns the land on which the centre is built.

Eastpoint staff met with administrators on Thursday and were left in tears after being told that there was no prospect of it reopening.

Plus You Ltd chief executive Debbie King said that until the lease had been officially transferred to the organisation, no decision on its future could be made.