Education charity SkillForce has announced that it is seeking a merger or acquisition following intense financial pressures.
In the past year SkillForce and its flagship education programme The Prince William Award, has delivered programmes to almost 15,000 pupils, while tripling the number of beneficiaries it works with in three years.
The charity has the Royal Patronage of HRH The Duke of Cambridge and delivers The Prince William Award (PWA) in his name. This is a year-long programme for 6–14 year olds delivered for two hours each week in partner schools culminating in graduation ceremonies for pupils and the awarding of certificates and badges for their progress and achievements.
Over the last academic year, the charity has also won local awards for its commitment to children’s education, and the MOD (ERS) Gold award for its commitment to former services personnel. It has also been shortlisted for numerous other awards.
However, despite its successes, the charity’s delivery model relies on serviced income from schools and the balance fundraised from a range of corporate organisations, trusts and foundations. It has found this model coming under intense financial pressures in recent years, and has now sought the help of the specialist business recovery and insolvency team from Smith Cooper to ensure the best outcome possible for its programmes and its staff. Over the course of the next month, the company will continue to trade whilst a purchase or merger is sought.
CEO Ben Slade said:
“We are devastated that, despite an immense amount of hard work from everyone at SkillForce since 2015, we find ourselves in such a challenging position which means we simply cannot continue to operate as we currently do.
“It is now my greatest hope that the charity and its award programmes can live on through a merger or acquisition. For me, ongoing support for our beneficiaries and continued employment for our staff have to be the priority.”
“We continually hear from parents, teachers and supporters that our work is making a difference to children and young people and feel this important work must continue.
“The charity’s financial position has been closely monitored for a long period of time and making the decision to seek specialist assistance in negotiating its future is the right decision by our trustees to ensure the best possible outcome for our beneficiaries and our staff at this very challenging time.”
Dean Nelson, Head of Business Recovery and Insolvency at Smith Cooper, commented:
“The team at SkillForce have strived to secure the businesses future, but despite best efforts, are now faced with a challenging situation.
“At the moment our attention is focused upon finding a suitable purchaser for the business, so that we’re able to secure the future of SkillForce and enable the continuation of its legacy supporting young people and ex-forces personnel in local communities.”
Employees have been informed of the situation and potential outcomes.
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