Voluntary sector figures have expressed sadness at the demise of the youth volunteering charity vinspired and rallied to support staff who are set to lose their jobs in the run-up to Christmas.
Third Sector reported yesterday that the youth volunteering charity, which was set up under the last Labour government with more than £100m of public funding, was to close with the loss of 20 jobs.
Its fate has prompted an outpouring of sympathy on Twitter and some caustic comments about a Labour-supported charity closing while the National Citizen Service scheme continues to enjoy significant funding from the current government.
Julie Bentley, chief executive of Action for Children, reflected the mood of many when she tweeted that vinspired had done "great things for youth volunteering".
Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scouts, praised the impact of the charity and its chief executive, Jessica Taplin.
I am very sorry to hear the news about @vInspired - it has made a big difference to a lot of young people’s lives over the years and the hard work from @Jessicataplin and team should be applauded https://t.co/zSkQTloimN— Matt Hyde (@matthyde) November 22, 2018
Staff will be made redundant on Tuesday. The insolvency firm Antony Batty & Company LLP will handle the winding-up.
Karl Wilding, director of public policy and volunteering at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said he hoped someone could be found to take over vinspired's website, and added: "What a shitty time of year for 20 people to be at risk of redundancy".
Matt Lent, chief executive of the education and youth charity Future First, encouraged vinspired staff to apply for vacancies at his organisation.
Anna Smee, chief executive of UK Youth, said it would "do all we can to offer our support".
Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the Directory of Social Change, tweeted:
So blooming sad about this. I loved @vinspired - fab concept, great committed team. Come on colleagues! This lot are great. Keep a special eye out for any CVs with ‘used to work at @vinspired’ on them. You’ll know you’re getting quality! @Jessicataplin https://t.co/4JuZw2wrEL— Debra Allcock Tyler (@DebAllcockTyler) November 22, 2018
The British Youth Council tweeted that vinspired had "championed youth social action for many years".
But Gail Scott-Spicer, chief executive of the King's College Hospital Charity, urged the sector to learn lessons rather than mourn.
The tweet, since deleted, called on sector leaders to "forge new business models, support bold decisions to create sustainability, press for core/unrestricted funding".
David Reed, director of the youth social action charity Generation Change, said vinspired's demise highlighted the need for strategic thinking about infrastructure.
This is very sad news.@Jessicataplin has done an incredible job, no-one else could have carried the organisation as far as she has. A serious debate is now needed about youth sector infrastructure, we can't go on like this. https://t.co/Mt6g1y4CHk— David Reed (@DdotReed) November 22, 2018
Some members of the Russell Commission, whose report in 2005 led to vinspired's creation, tweeted their sadness.
Heartbreaking. I led Russell Commission team that recommended @vinspired and was so happy to see it thrive. Leaves a big legacy that has enabled millions of young people to do amazing things. Thoughts are with the team and volunteers. https://t.co/dHaCYEBgWC— Jamie Ward-Smith (@JamieWardSmith) November 22, 2018
Richard Harries, a civil servant at the time, posted: "It survived the transition to the coalition government, but NCS was the last nail."
Others were quick to highlight the contrast in fortunes between vinspired and NCS.
David Pearce, director of fundraising and marketing at Dignity in Dying, tweeted: "Created as a government project under Labour, undermined by another under Conservatives."
Steve Smith, head of fundraising at Action for ME, said vinspired "seemed to deliver far more for young people than NCS".
Incredibly sad: volunteers from @vinspired we're one of the inspirational highlights of this year's @CharityRetail conference. From my viewpoint it seemed to deliver far more for young people than NCS. https://t.co/5y0TdlfM3n— Steve Smith (@onefromthemodem) November 22, 2018
Jessica Taplin, chief executive of vinspired, told Third Sector: "I'm thankful for all the supportive messages. It's great to see the sector rallying to show support."