POLICE are investigating a Sheffield children’s charity after arresting the boss and her husband on suspicion of fraud, leaving seven people without jobs.
The Enabled organisation was set up to raise money for terminally-ill and disabled children to send them on holidays abroad.
The organisation, run by director Lynn Moore, had been operating since late last year from a small office on Queens Street in Sheffield city centre.
But staff members say they arrived at work just days ago to find detectives looking through documents and told them the charity had been disbanded.
Katie Jones, aged 24, who had run events for Enabled for around a month, claimed no staff members had been paid.
She said: “I’m completely shocked. I’m devastated.
“People have been very generous with their money, have given up their time and performed at events for free.”
Lynn Moore and her husband Glenn Moore have been arrested on suspicion of fraud, and released on police bail pending further investigations.
Another employee, mum-of-two Cathy Giles, 43, from Heeley, who started working there in March, said: “The focus seemed to be purely on raising money.
“Lynne said she had helped one little boy, for whom she had bought an iPad, but I saw no evidence of the charity actually helping anybody else.”
Staff were tasked with collecting donations from people in pubs, raising money in supermarkets by packing bags and organising fundraising events.
They got work with Enabled through Job Centre Plus, the Remploy disabled employment charity, Opportunity Sheffield and through adverts on websites.
Former events organiser Jason Richford says he left after he wasn’t paid for six weeks of work: “First she said we would be paid weekly, then it was monthly, then she said she had to delay the payment because she needed to pay the phone bill. I still haven’t been paid. What is upsetting is it has affected my reputation as an events manager.”
Katie Jones, from Pitsmoor, said: “Lots of musicians gave up their time for free. Now I have had to tell them it was for nothing.
“We were going to have a jumble sale as well and people donated a lot of items they wanted to go to a good cause.”
The charity raised money by placing vending machines and children’s rides in businesses.
Harriet Gilliland, 18, of Crookes, who left her job there after a week, said: “It was quite strange. The office was full of these vending machines and she wanted us to persuade businesses to place them for us. I got the job through the job centre, but she said she would give me a one-week unpaid trial, which she did to everybody.
“It was free labour really. I left after a week because I thought the organisation didn’t feel right.”
A police spokeswoman said: “South Yorkshire Police are investigating allegations of fraudulent activities in connection with a children’s charity organisation in Sheffield.
“A man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of fraud, they are currently on police bail pending further inquiries.”
Lynn Moore did not respond to The Star’s request for a comment.