Only Connect will retain independent identity after takeover by Catch22

The criminal justice charity becomes part of the young people's services charity today

Catch22 takes over Only Connect today
Catch22 takes over Only Connect today

The young people’s services charity Catch22 will take over the criminal justice charity Only Connect from today, in a move that will involve Only Connect retaining its independent identity as part of Catch22. 

Chris Wright, chief executive of Catch22, and Danny Kruger, chief executive and founder of Only Connect, said the acquisition represented a new type of relationship between larger and smaller charities.

Despite formally becoming a part of the 995-employee Catch22, Only Connect, which employs 28 people, will keep its own branding and will remain registered as a separate body with the Charity Commission.

It will also continue to work from its two London offices in King's Cross and White City.

Kruger said: "Our aim is to continue the work we have done up until now, but this arrangement will allow us to work at scale.

"We think this represents quite a huge innovation in the way the charity sector can adapt to a particularly difficult environment – small charities don’t want to disappear, but might struggle to carry on as independent organisations."

The move, which comes after long-term collaboration between the two organisations, would allow Only Connect to make use of Catch22’s greater resources and reach, he said.

Wright said: "Catch22 is interested in being part of creating a more robust voluntary sector and looking at how an organisation with relative scale can create the right kind of environment for a small charity to thrive.

"And as organisations that both work on engaging with people who come in contact with the system, some of the things Only Connect has been doing will add value to our broad offer."

Kruger will step down as chief executive of Only Connect, but will instead chair the organisation and will become a trustee of Catch22.

He will also take up the position of chief executive of the West London Zone, a partnership of charities that work with children and young people, set up by Only Connect in 2014.

Mat Ilic, strategy director of Only Connect, will become Only Connect’s executive director and will join Catch22 as justice strategy director.

Kruger said: "There’s quite a lot of emotion involved in giving away a charity you started, but, at the end of the day, I am not the charity and the trustees agreed it was the right thing to do.

"Although this represents a loss of control, it’s a huge opportunity for growth outwards."

Apart from Kruger’s role, no jobs are expected to be lost from either organisation, although Wright said some jobs might transfer from Only Connect to Catch22.

Wright said: "We confirmed that Only Connect will not shrink; it will continue to grow."

In the year to December 2013, Only Connect had an income of £1.3m. In the year to March 2014, Catch22 had an income of £54.9m, according to Charity Commission records.

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