Urgent help needed after Stride closure
The closure of social enterprise company Stride, reported in Saturday's Leicester Mercury and on page seven today, is very sad and we hope that action can still be taken to salvage something from this situation.
The company, which tackled youth unemployment by providing apprenticeships and training courses, ceased operations after Revenue and Customs launched a winding-up petition in a bid to retrieve £200,000 in unpaid taxes.
This move led to Stride's bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, freezing its accounts, leaving the group's directors with no alternative but to close it down.
We are told that a combination of public funding cuts, changes to Government-financed training schemes and difficult economic conditions were factors in Stride's downfall.
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The tragedy is that the services provided by Stride have never been more needed.
Youth unemployment is a critical issue and the work that this organisation carried out was crucial in giving opportunities to young people.
When set against the need for this sort of service, the sum of £200,000 does not seem like a very large amount of money, and it is a great shame that an alternative solution could not have been found other than the course of events which has led to Stride's closure.
We hope that it might prove possible, even at this late stage, for some sort of Government intervention in this situation to help save the apprenticeships and training courses.
Over the weekend, Leicester deputy mayor Rory Palmer tweeted that it was a priority to explore how the apprentices at Stride could be helped.
And Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth tweeted that he would be lobbying ministers for urgent help.
We hope their efforts are successful and that something can be done to address this terrible situation.
We often hear ministers talking about the importance of providing young people with training and tackling youth unemployment.
Here is a good opportunity for them to put those words into practice by doing something to help the young people affected by Stride's closure.