Sexual health charity the FPA to go into voluntary liquidation

The charity's 25 staff are at risk of redundancy, although it is hoped alternative providers for its projects can be found

The sexual health services charity the FPA has ceased trading and is to go into voluntary liquidation, Third Sector has learned.

A statement from the charity did not reveal the reason for its closure, which puts the charity's 25 members of staff at risk of redundancy. 

Founded in 1930 as the National Birth Control Council, the charity is the national affiliate for the International Planned Parenthood Federation and has been working to improve the public’s knowledge of sexual health around the country.

The charity carried out a rebrand in 2010 in an effort to reach more people, but has been struggling with significant funding cuts in recent years.

Third Sector understands it has also been struggling with its pension deficit, which reached £2.6m in 2017/18, its accounts show. 

The charity's accounts for the year to the end of March 2018 said trustees had filed a recovery plan with the Pensions Regulator that "minimised" the amount repaid due to concerns about cash flow.

A statement from the charity today said: "It is with profound regret that the FPA has ceased trading pending the appointment of liquidators."

It said RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP had been instructed by the charity’s trustees to assist it in convening a meeting to place the FPA into creditors’ voluntary liquidation.

RSM is in the process of writing to all known creditors to provide formal notice of the proceedings and to outline the next steps, the statement said.

"The proposed liquidators and the trustees are very mindful of the importance of the various programmes undertaken by the association and, as such, they are hopeful that a number of these initiatives will be taken forwards by other organisations," it said.

"Any party wishing to take on an aspect of the association’s work should contact the proposed liquidators at the earliest opportunity."

The government’s public health grant for 2018/19 is £3.21bn, down from £3.30bn the year before, forming part of planned cuts to public health funding of at least £600m by 2020/1.

A survey of British Association for Sexual Health and HIV members in October last year warned the sexual health sector was at "breaking point", with more than half (54 per cent) of respondents reporting falls in the overall level of service access for patients over the past year. 

The charity changed its name to the Family Planning Association in 1939 before shortening that to the FPA in 1998 in order to reflect its broader remit.

Additional reporting by Rebecca Cooney

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