A charity that helped 10,000 people and hundreds of community projects in Brighton and Hove has gone into administration.

Administrator Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) has been called in at the charity People Can, which has an office at Community Base in Queen’s Road, Brighton, because of a £17milllion pension deficit.

In the last year alone the charity has supported more than 70 community projects in the city.

This year it gave grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds to 11 organisations running projects for children in the city, as well as 29 health projects.

It also ran Healthy Neighbourhood Funds, helping cash-strapped residents access healthy food in 16 wards across the city, benefiting more than 10,000 residents.

The charity, which employs around 200 staff in London, Bristol, Somerset, Liverpool and Brighton, fell into financial difficulties as it struggled to meet its pension obligations.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “It is a very tough financial environment for charities to secure funding at the moment.

"The news that People Can is going into administration is very sad and will have implications for many services across the city.

"The council is working hard with partners to reach as good an outcome as is possible for everyone involved."

David Hurst, joint administrator and director at PwC, said: “The charity’s significant pension liabilities dated back many years to its previous role as a registered social landlord.

"A range of restructuring options were explored – however, a deal could not be reached that worked for all stakeholders.”

Ian Oakley-Smith, joint administrator, director and head of charity advisory at PwC, added: “Charities are currently facing a tough environment in which to secure funding for their services.

"These pressures are exacerbated for those charities with defined benefit pension schemes which require further funding. In these instances some trustees are facing an increasingly difficult task in balancing their obligations.”

In Somerset, 17 employees have already been made redundant because the local authority is exploring alternatives for the provision of the charity’s services.

PwC said the future for remaining staff was dependent on discussions with the local authorities involved.