Sexual health charity faces liquidation

By Derren Hayes and Dan Parton

| 03 May 2019

Sexual health charity FPA has ceased trading and is to be placed into voluntary liquidation.

The FPA provides sexual health and education training, campaigning and advocacy work

The move has put the jobs of 25 FPA employees at risk, although the 89-year-old charity hopes to find other organisations to take on its work.

Those who contacted the charity received an automated email explaining that RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP has been instructed by the charity's trustees to assist in placing FPA into a creditors' voluntary liquidation.

It is believed that the FPA has struggled with funding cuts in recent years, as well as a significant pension deficit, which is reported to be in excess of £2 million.

A statement from RSM Restructuring said: "The formal appointment of liquidators is expected to take place in mid-May, however, all staff have been informed and work is underway to wind down the day-to-day operations. The insolvent position of the FPA has arisen due to insufficient revenues and a substantial pension deficit. 

"The proposed Liquidators and the trustees are very mindful of the importance of the various programmes undertaken by the FPA and, as such, they are hopeful that a number of these initiatives will be taken forward by other organisations. A number of related discussions are taking place at present. 

"Any party wishing to take on an aspect of the FPA's work should contact the proposed Liquidators at the earliest opportunity."  

The FPA provides sexual health and education training, campaigning and advocacy work and is a member of the International Planned Parenting Association.

Closure of the FPA has been met with sadness in the children and families sector. 

Julie Bentley, a former chief executive of the FPA and current chief executive of Action for Children, said on Twitter: "Very sad to learn of @FPACharity closure. A long proud history of many amazing people making real, positive & important difference to society."

Emily Butler, campaigns coordinator with Amnesty UK, who has also worked for the FPA, also said on Twitter: "Devastating it's [FPA] now gone into liquidation. We need more of this work being done, not less. Thoughts go out to all the staff."

It is believed that the FPA has struggled with funding cuts in recent years, as well as a significant pension deficit, which is reported to be in excess of £2 million.

Established in 1930 as the National Birth Control Council, it changed its name in 1939 to the Family Planning Association and became FPA in 1998.

In its early years, the FPA helped to guarantee and standardise the various contraceptive methods it prescribed using science and medicine, such as developing and implementing tests for chemical efficacy and safety and rubber quality. By 1961, its clinics were offering the contraceptive pill. The FPA handed over its network of clinics to the NHS when contraception was made free.

In its 2017/18 annual review, the FPA stated that it had worked with 1,485 vulnerable young people and provided training to more than 620 professionals across the UK that year. The charity also distributed more than 800,000 leaflets on sexual and reproductive health.

The charity also launched its Sexwise platform, funded by Public Health England, in September 2017. This is a digital resource for young people to get clear, honest advice on sexual health and wellbeing. 

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