Educational charity snaps up youth volunteering platform vInspired

A youth volunteering charity that closed in 2018 is set to merge with the education charity Speakers for Schools.

The charity said it could not disclose the cost of the merger for commercial reasons, but confirmed that it intended to invest in vInspired's services and brands, alongside its portfolio of programmes.

This will include the establishment of a vInspired programme team and investment in delivering an improved digital platform to broker youth volunteering.

The charity vInspired, set up under the last Labour government with more than £100m of public funding, closed in 2018 following a change in government and funding priorities.

The vInspired service, which includes vinspired.com and the V awards, has helped connect more than 1.4 million young people with thousands of UK charities.

Bob Barbour, former digital director at vInspired, set up a crowdfunder in July 2019 so that the charity’s digital volunteer recruitment network could be resurrected as a new social enterprise.

Barbour bought the digital arm of the charity after negotiations with the charity’s liquidators and hoped the £30,000 in funding would keep the services open until a longer-term investment could be found.

Over the past two years, Barbour has kept the platform alive together with Matt Haworth, a director at tech company Reason Digital.

Speakers for Schools said it would reinvest in the vInspired service as part of its wider mission to support the growth of young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Barbour said: “I’m extremely proud to have kept this key part of the vInspired legacy alive for the past two years and to pass the torch over to Speakers for Schools.

“I’m confident that we’ve now found the right home for the vInspired service, including vInspired.com and V awards, and that Speakers for Schools will provide an excellent service to charities and young volunteers.”

Jason Elsom, chief executive of Speakers for Schools, said: “I am delighted to announce that the vInspired volunteering recruitment and recognition service is joining the Speakers for Schools family.

“As a scaling youth social mobility charity, Speakers for Schools is well placed to continue and grow the vInspired legacy to help young people and communities thrive.”

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