Shock over closure of Sheffield music company that taught thousands of school children
A Sheffield education company which delivered music lessons to thousands of children has closed suddenly - with angry parents claiming they have been left out of pocket.
ACEG Limited taught more than 5000 pupils in at least 100 schools across South Yorkshire and beyond how to play instruments over the last decade.
But the company, based in the Electric Works building near the city centre, issued a statement confirming it is closing down due to a range of complex factors.
The move has angered some parents who claim they had already paid for services that will now not be delivered and are tasked with seeking refunds.
Nicola Allen said she is owed an Â£88 refund for piano lessons for her eight-year-old daughter that were due to be delivered up to the end of March.
The 43-year-old said: "It came out of the blue and it is terrible that the service has ended because it was actually a good scheme.
"But I have made numerous phone calls and sent emails about the refund and I haven't got my money back yet. They haven't handled it well at all.
She said parents of children at her daughter's school in Derby were sent letters giving them the option of arranging music lessons delivered by ACEG.
The former University of Sheffield student and PR consultant said parents were offered the chance to pay the company in advance for lessons due to take place over the coming months.
She believes hundreds of parents could now be out of pocket having already paid for scheduled lessons.
She added: "They need to reimburse everyone who is owed money,"
Meanwhile, a former piano and guitar tutor came forward to claim she is owed Â£700 by the company.
She said: "The communication from the company has been poor. And tutors bear the brunt of complaints from parents because are the face of it all. It's unfair on us."
In a lengthy statement on the company's website, director Lewis Quaye said: "It is with a heavy heart that I inform you ACEG has now begun the process of closing down its services.
"Due to increased financial pressure and a lack of access to affordable, dependable tutors we are no longer able to function as a reliable company.
"Additionally, the company has lacked leadership due to personal health issues among its board of directors."
The firm's Linkedin business profile shows that it has up to 50 members of staff.
Mr Quaye explained that lessons will continue for the rest of the academic term in schools where there are tutors. After that, he hopes the tutors will continue to deliver sessions independently.
He added customers who would prefer to be refunded and tutors with outstanding invoices should contact the company via their website at aceg.co
Mr Quaye said: "We anticipate that all cases will be resolved by April 1.
"We will be issuing an update to all individuals that have logged cases on the 1st of each month until all matters have been brought to a close.
"Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused during this very difficult time."