YouthNet seeks new owner for Do-it volunteering website

Chief executive Emma Thomas says the site has grown beyond the charity's mission, and it wants to focus its efforts on supporting young people

Emma Thomas
Emma Thomas

The online young people’s charity YouthNet has announced that it will transfer its volunteering website, Do-it, to a new owner by the end of the year.

The process will be overseen by YouthNet and the Office for Civil Society. Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said funding would be available to secure the future of the website, although he did not specify how much.

Emma Thomas, chief executive of YouthNet, said the charity was "very proud" of Do-it, but its priority was to focus on its core purpose of supporting young people by developing TheSite, a website with guidance and advice for 16 to 25-year-olds. She said it was therefore appropriate that another organisation should take over the running of Do-it, which caters for volunteers of all ages.

"Do-it has benefited millions of volunteers and the volunteering sector, and YouthNet’s commitment to Do-it and to volunteering hasn’t changed," said Thomas. "However, the reality is that Do-it has proved so successful, attracting millions of volunteers of all ages, that it has grown beyond YouthNet’s mission to support young people. Young people are facing even more challenging times and need our support more than ever, so we must focus solely on their needs."

A spokeswoman for YouthNet said Do-it was run by six permanent staff with overall running costs of about £800,000 per year, which is partly covered by funding from the OCS.

She said the future of those employees was undecided. "We presume that staff will be transferring, but we won’t know any more until the owner is selected.

"The OCS is providing funding to ensure the continuation of Do-it at current service levels up to the point of transfer later this year, as part of the OCS’s commitment to ensure a successful and sustainable future for Do-it," she said.

Further details about the requirements for the new owner will be published in May.

YouthNet launched Do-it, which matches volunteers with opportunities across the UK, in 2001. About 27,000 charities are currently publicising volunteering roles via the site, which has more than a million registered users.

Hurd said Do-it was "an important asset for the voluntary sector".

"We want to make sure not only that it continues, but also that it seizes the many opportunities that digital technology, social media and open data create for the sector," he said.

"We look forward to receiving some innovative proposals."

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