A SCOTS charity which helps army veterans could be forced to close after being taken to an employment tribunal.
The Mark Wright Project, named after an Edinburgh George Cross recipient, has been plagued by in-fighting but could collapse completely after a former employee decided to sue.
Directors have now written to the veterans who use the centre to say they face new financial struggles and fear they cannot afford the legal fees involved.
In the letter, which was sent out yesterday, the recently-elected board of directors said they feared the tribunal could sink the charity.
“It would cost us around £20,000 to prepare and present our case at Tribunal,” they wrote. “Even if she were fortunate enough to win a small sum it would devastate our finances. If we won and she lost it would be unlikely we would be able to recover any costs.”
A second employee, who was sacked earlier this year, is believed to have settled out of court for £6500.
However, founder Bob Wright, who set up the charity with wife Jem in memory of their son, Corporal Mark Wright, said he hoped the charity would continue to offer social and emotional support to veterans at its Dalkeith centre.
Earlier this year, Mr Wright said that he was considering selling his son’s medals to help fund the centre because it was so short of funds.
However around 20 people, including veterans and their friends and family, signed a letter of no confidence in the current directors’ predecessors, and said they supported for the member of staff currently seeking tribunal.
The group claimed the atmosphere at the centre was strained and that this was having a negative effect on those using the service.
The letter also said that Mr Wright had behaved aggressively at the centre, an allegation he denied, although he admitted having raised his voice on discovering that rumours about his marriage were circulating in the centre.
One former director, Fiona MacDonald, said she supported the concerns of the group behind the letter.
She stepped down from her role at the end of August because she was worried about the charity placing more emphasis on helping veterans into work than its original role as a drop-in social centre.
Mr Wright said the letter of concern had been signed by a minority out of 200 people who use the centre and that he hoped the charity would overcome its difficulties.
He said: “We’re still open for business and we’re still working. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but I think we will get back on our feet.”
Corporal Mark Wright was killed in Afghanistan in 2006 after entering an unmarked minefield in Helmand Province.
His efforts to rescue injured soldiers and his attempts to keep up their moral, despite being gravely injured, earned him a posthumous George Cross.