Youth social action charity vInspired collapses

By Joe Lepper

| 22 November 2018

Youth volunteering charity vInspired is set to enter insolvency, it has emerged.

vInspired launched in 2006 to provide social action opportunities for 14- to 25-year-olds. Picture: vInspired

The charity launched in 2006, providing social action opportunities for 14- to 25-year-olds. A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the government department responsible for youth policy and charities, has confirmed to CYP Now that the charity is "entering a period of insolvency".

According to Charity Commission records, vInspired has 63 members of staff, 52 volunteers and eight trustees. Its chair of trustees is Joanna Killian, who was appointed chief executive of Surrey County Council in March.

The charity is a regional provider of the National Citizen Service initiative in the North East of England, in partnership with the National Youth Agency. It is the second regional NCS provider to go out of business in recent years, following the liquidation of Engage4Life

vInspired's chief executive Jessica Taplin said that a subsidiary company through which the charity's NCS provision is run, called vInspired Education, will continue to operate.

The NYA has said that it is working with vInspired and the NCS Trust to "ensure the service for young people continues without change".

Information on the Charity Commission website reveals that vInspired's spending had been higher than its income in five of the last six years. In 2016/17 it had an income of £9.3m but outgoings of £11.4m - a deficit of £2.1m. In 2015/16 its expenditure was £8.4m against income of £7.8m.

vInspired was launched after the government's Russell Commission into youth volunteering recommended the establishment of an independent charity to improve the quality and diversity of volunteering opportunities.

Earlier this year the charity launched a major UK-wide reward card scheme, in a bid to encourage young people to take part in social action projects, offering a range of discounts for shops, events and attractions to young people. It invested £500,000 of its own money in the initiative, match funded by the Big Lottery and government-backed #iwill Fund, which promotes social action.

"The loss of vInspired will be felt keenly by the youth sector, as a national champion of young people," an NYA spokesman said. 

"Grown out of the Russell Commission's report, over the years it has helped promote positive activities, opportunities and perceptions of young people through volunteering across the country.

"Its work and values live on through all the businesses, community groups and young people it has served.

"NYA has enjoyed a close partnership for NCS and youth social action in particular and will continue to work with vInspired Education for future quality provision in support of young people.

"At a time when we are being promised an end to austerity, we need to hold on to, invest in and develop the youth sector, and support those charities and services which in turn invest in young people - supported in the present, ambitious for their future."

An NCS Trust spokeswoman said: "For the delivery of NCS, we contract with vInspired Education, which is a separate legal entity. Our contract with vInspired Education formally ends on 31 December 2019."

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