Boarding school charities in 'merger of equals'

The Royal National Children's Foundation and the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation will merge legally on 1 July but will work together from today

Two boarding school charities have announced they are merging in order to support more children.

The Royal National Children’s Foundation and the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation, which both offer bursaries to help children attend boarding school, are coming together in a "merger of equals" with a new name and branding, according to a spokesman for the RNCF.

He said there were clear similarities in the two charities’ work, as well as opportunities for growth. The merger, he said, would allow more children to enter boarding school and increase support for and awareness of the charities’ work.

The new name and branding will be announced once the registration process with the Charity Commission was completed, the spokesman said.

Ian Davenport, chief executive of SpringBoard, will be chief executive of the new charity. Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of the RNCF, left at the end of 2016 to take up the same role at the animal charity Spana.

The new charity’s board will include 12 trustees, six from each charity. Kevin Parry, chair of the RNCF, will chair the new charity, and Tim Bunting, chair of SpringBoard, will become deputy chair.

There will be no job losses as a result of the merger, the spokesman said. The RNCF employs eight staff and SpringBoard has four staff.

According to the spokesman, the RNCF had an annual income of £1.5m and SpringBoard one of £1.3m, and both charities were in a strong financial position, the RNCF spokesman said.

He said the RNCF increased its fundraising by 30 per cent last year, but felt the merger was the best way to continue growing.

The new charity will operate from the two organisations’ bases in London and Surrey, although this arrangement will be reviewed later in the year, with any changes subject to a consultation with affected staff.

The merger will be completed legally on 1 July, but the charities will work together from today.

Davenport said: "With bursary school charities facing a record demand for the support they offer, the new charity will focus on building on the great work of the RNCF and the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation.

"The aim is to increase the number of children currently supported by the RNCF and SpringBoard, taking the figure from 600 to 1,500 within the next five years. In doing so, the new charity will transform many lives and fulfil the boarding sector’s ambition to play a leading role in enabling social mobility."

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