Ballet West to close as liquidator appointed

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Oban Sheriff Court has approved the appointment of a provisional liquidator to Ballet West Ltd, a statement from the board of trustees has revealed.

It formally starts the process of winding up Ballet West Ltd, which will mean the closure of the school at Taynuilt, the statement said.

The trustees added: ‘Due to events over the last two weeks, Ballet West Ltd,  a registered Scottish charity, has been driven to the point of insolvency and the trustees had a legal duty to inform the charity regulator and take appropriate action in these circumstances.

‘The board was required to make an application for a liquidator to be appointed.

‘The immediate impact of this is that Ballet West’s affairs will now be dealt with by the liquidator, French Duncan.’

Eileen Blackburn, of French Duncan LLP, has been appointed by the court as provisional liquidator.

The statement added: ‘This means that from today Ballet West’s financial affairs and operational responsibility will be managed by the provisional liquidator, and all business activities including residential and outreach activities will cease or be wound-down immediately.

‘The trustees of the charity were required to make an application at Oban Sheriff Court due to the recent decisions of some key customers and partner organisations, as the business was no longer financially viable. The charity regulator has also been informed.’

Any enquiries or notification of claims should now be made by email to BalletWest@frenchduncan.co.uk

The statement said that student accommodation at Ballet West was provided under a separate contract with separate entities not included in the liquidation.

‘We have been informed that requests for refunds for pre-paid accommodation costs should be made directly to the landlords via bartonaccommodation@gmail.com

‘Aware of the recent allegations in the press about individuals and activities at Ballet West, the liquidator will, of course, assist and make available any information to both Police Scotland and any other regulatory bodies.’

Further updates will be available at: www.frenchduncan.co.uk/balletwest/

The statement added: ‘The board of trustees is deeply saddened by this outcome and appalled that parents and students have been placed in such a terrible situation.

‘This is the consequence of a catastrophic sequence of events and we could not prevent this from happening.

‘The allegations broadcast by ITN regarding the vice-principal on Thursday August 13 were shocking. Immediate action was required in response and he resigned.

‘The board launched an internal inquiry, committed to an external inquiry and informed Police Scotland. We hoped the board’s prompt action would allay fears in terms of student safety going forward.

‘However, on Friday August 14, we were informed that Bath Spa University was terminating its relationship with Ballet West with immediate effect.

‘This was devastating news for students and the ballet school as Bath Spa students accounted for nearly 70 per cent of the student intake.

‘Further to this, we were informed that the Royal Academy of Dance withdrew their accreditation and on Thursday August 20, we were informed that the Scottish Qualification Authority had given us notice of termination for the HNC/HND courses at the school. In short, these developments rendered the business of Ballet West unviable.

‘Every option was explored to secure funding or alternative partners to support courses. These efforts were in vain and the board was legally bound to inform the charity regulator, OSCR, that Ballet West was on the brink of insolvency.

‘We are immensely grateful for the support of many students, former students, parents and staff as we battled to secure the future of the school, but we were dealt one blow after another.

‘In addition to our own internal inquiries, on which we gave an update to parents last week, we agreed to instruct an independent QC to conduct an external investigation. Due to the liquidation, the funding is not now available for that to proceed and that is a matter of deep regret. We have told Police Scotland that we will make all possible information available to them.

‘We will also do the same with any regulatory bodies. We wholeheartedly support the police investigation. We are, however, now constrained by these investigations on what we can comment on publicly.

‘We are deeply sorry that any student should have felt that the school had failed them, and we urge anyone who has a complaint to report this to Police Scotland or any relevant body.

‘The reputation for ballet excellence that Ballet West enjoyed was built on the talent and commitment of students and staff. We can only hope that those who see their future in ballet and the performing arts can find a route to realise their hopes and ambitions.’