Charities to merge to create biggest UK youth support agency

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The new organisations will provide multi-issue support with a focus on mental wellbeing and creating opportunities through volunteering

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2nd November 2015 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Two of the UK’s leading youth support charities, YouthNet and Get Connected, have announced they intend to merge.

The proposed merger will combine YouthNet’s extensive digital reach and Get Connected’s telephone helpline to create the UK’s largest multi-channel support charity for 16-25 year olds. The new charity will offer multi-issue support with a particular focus on mental wellbeing and creating opportunities through volunteering.

Both YouthNet and Get Connected are committed to providing support to young people under 25, whatever their issue and whenever they need they help. They share common values around the importance of holistic advice and peer support.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Young people today face unprecedented challenges that have resulted in an epidemic of mental health issues

Last year, YouthNet and Get Connected’s combined services reached 1.7 million young people. The new charity will aim to grow this to over 2 million by 2018, reaching 1 in 4 of the UK’s population of 16-25 year olds.

Over the last twelve months, the trustees and chief executives of both charities have been exploring ways in which they might work more closely together in response to an escalating demand for their services by young people who today face unprecedented challenges.     

The new charity will be led by YouthNet’s chief executive Chris Martin. He will be supported by a new trustee board drawn from both organisations. Luke Taylor, global chief executive of of DigitasLBi, will be Chair and Gearoid Lane, chief executive of AgilityEco, will be vice-chair.

Martin said: “Young people today face unprecedented challenges that have resulted in an epidemic of mental health issues. We know they reach out for support first though digital, social and mobile, yet there is no single, multi-channel support service for them. By combining YouthNet’s digital reach and expertise with Get Connected’s excellent 121 telephone support service, we can offer young people a recognisable, safe and trusted place to turn whenever they need it.

“Demand from young people for support has never been greater and we believe that our new charity will help to fill the gap where statutory services have been withdrawn and smaller organisations for young people have shut down.”

Get Connected chief executive Jessica Taplin will be stepping down to join V-Inspired as its new chief executive in 2016.

The existing services of both charities will continue to operate as normal during and post-merger, ensuring there is no disruption for the young people who rely on them. The proposed merger will be completed by the end of 2015 with a new charity brand being launched to the public soon afterwards.