Tomorrow's People to close, putting 135 jobs at risk

The employment charity's income has shrunk by almost half in about a year

The employment charity Tomorrow's People is to close, with 135 jobs at risk.

The charity, whose income shrunk from £8.7m in 2015/16 to £4.8m in 2016/17, put an announcement about its closure on its website today.

It said it had suffered from a "significant reduction in the money available across public and private sectors".

It added: "During 2017, our general fundraising efforts did not pay off as we hoped, and in recent months we tried to bring in emergency fundraising and reduce our overheads to try and stay afloat. Unfortunately, we were not successful enough."

A Tomorrow's People spokeswoman said the charity, which since 2015 has been led by Martin Brookes, former chief executive of the think tank NPC, was contacting staff and stakeholders and would not add to its online statement.

The statement did not set out when the charity was expected to close, but said it would be "talking to partners in the sector to try and find safe harbour for our staff, and for the young people who were due to attend our programmes".

Tomorrow's People was set up to help the long-term unemployed after the inner-city riots of 1984 by the leisure and property company Grand Metropolitan, which is now part of the drinks firm Diageo.

It became a charity in 2004 and initially relied mainly on government contracts.

In recent years it targeted private companies and beefed up its fundraising team in 2016/17 in the wake of declining government contracts. Its 2017 annual report said this would "allow us to take a more planned and strategic approach".

However, the charity recently closed two of its six furniture shops as revenue declined.

The charity’s spending totalled £7.2m last year, £2.5m more than its income.

Its latest annual report, for the year to the end of March 2017, attributed the near-£4m slump in income over the previous year to three factors.

First was a decline in funding from the Department for Work and Pensions' Work Programme contracts in south-west England. "These contracts are pure payment-by-results, and income has declined as the number of people going through the Work Programme has fallen," the annual report said.

Second was the end of a three-year £2m grant from the HSBC bank.

Third was the decision by the charity Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation to "in-source" a coaching programme for disengaged teenagers, which Tomorrow's People had previously delivered.

Staff numbers declined from 190 to 135 as revenue fell.

The charity, which is based in south London, created headlines in 2010 when the Charity Commission censured its then chief executive Debbie Scott for appearing in the Conservative Party election manifesto.

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