Community Service Volunteers to close its learning centres in restructure

Lucy de Groot, its chief executive, says it cannot make its learning operations financially viable in a realistic timeframe

Lucy de Groot
Lucy de Groot

Community Service Volunteers plans to close all 12 of its learning centres, which help young people find work, putting 110 jobs at risk.

The charity today announced that it would pull out of running the centres as part of a restructure that will result in it focusing solely on social action and volunteering programmes.

CSV said it was carrying out the restructure because of the "tough financial and economic environment".

The charity said the closure of the learning centres, which help young and vulnerable people learn new skills and find employment, would affect 110 staff jobs out of a total 437 CSV employees.

A CSV spokeswoman said the charity was working closely with the union Unite and hoped to avoid redundancy wherever possible.

"We are working with our partner organisations to transfer staff where possible and we will offer redeployment opportunities within CSV where possible," she said.

Springboard Sunderland Trust, which is a subsidiary learning charity of CSV, has its own trustees and will not be affected by the restructure, although the two charities are reviewing the possibility of SST leaving the CSV Group after the charity’s move away from learning services.

Sir Jon Shortridge, chair of CSV, said the restructure was in response to a "difficult finance challenge".

"While we have increased income, improved our performance and impact and made reductions in the level of our deficit, the overall level of financial risk we are facing remains far too high," he said. "So we have to make major changes in the way we operate in order to strengthen our finances and ensure we can continue to deliver our vital charitable services.

"After a fundamental business review, we have concluded that we must initiate the orderly closure of our learning operations. We have reached this decision with great sadness, but we are convinced this is the only way to provide CSV’s core volunteering work with a sustainable future."

Lucy de Groot, chief executive of CSV, said the charity was sustainable and had a strong future but it was not possible to make its learning operations financially viable in a realistic timeframe.  

"We are confident that this transformation will enable us to continue to help many thousands of people from all ages and backgrounds to have better lives, make a difference and create strong, inclusive communities," she said.

CSV said its 12 learning centres in Hackney, Islington, Bromley, Southwark, Ipswich, Hereford, Redditch, Worcester, Manchester, Preston, Newcastle and Blyth would close in the summer once all participants had completed their programme or qualifications

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