YouthNet and Get Connected to merge and create UK’s largest multi-channel support charity for 16-25 year olds

Zoë Bailie
Director of Brand & Innovation
boy on the phone

Two of the UK’s leading youth support charities YouthNet and Get Connected have announced today that 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.

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 merger of the two charities will enable them to:

  • Provide a single, large scale, multi-channel support service for young people to access information and advice wherever and whenever they need it.
  • Create a support service that can fill the gap where statutory services have been withdrawn and smaller organisations have shut down.
  • Offer young people seeking help a single start point for their support journey that can also sign post to other relevant services in the sector and beyond.
  • Avoid duplication in the support they currently offer, ensuring that charitable resources are used in the most efficient way for the benefit of young people.
  • Provide a robust service that can be scaled up to meet a growing demand.
  • Create flexible opportunities for young people as volunteers.

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 CEO of DigitasLBi, will be Chair and Gearoid Lane, CEO of AgilityEco, will be Vice-Chair.

Chris Martin, CEO of YouthNet, says: “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 CEO Jessica Taplin will be stepping down to join V-Inspired as their new Chief Executive in 2016.

Jessica Taplin, CEO of Get Connected, says: “Collaboration and partnership are key to ensuring that we can provide even more efficient, effective services for the future that deliver a quality product and respond to the changing demands of young people.

“Since both our organisations were founded they have been committed to supporting young people, using the power of volunteers and social action. Our services naturally complement each other, sharing the same values and non-judgemental approach, so it makes good sense for us to merge.”

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.

Ends

Media contact: Kate Sidwell, kate.sidwell@youthnet.org or call: 07910 154 673 / Zoe Bailie, zoe.bailie@youthnet.org or call 07766 660 755

Note to editors:

  • Get Connected is the UK’s free, confidential and multi-issue helpline service for young people under 25 who need help, but don’t know where to turn. We help young people find a path to a brighter future. Our service is available 365 days a year over the phone, via web chat, email or our free app. Our website includes a searchable directory of support services, plus information, advice and guidance on mental and emotional wellbeing from our trusted partners. Last year 228,000 young people accessed our services.
  • Call FREE: 0808 808 4994 (11am-11pm daily). Email: help@getconnected.org.uk. Web Chat (1pm-11pm daily) and Web Help (24/7): www.getconnected.org.uk
  • Get Connected also provides an enhanced service for young people and parents worried about psychological health and wellbeing, including telephone counselling.
  • YouthNet is the charity behind online guide to life, TheSite.org which supports around 1.5 million 16 to 25 year olds in the UK each year.
  • The UK’s first exclusively online charity, YouthNet creates digital solutions to ease young people’s isolation and to make their lives better.
  • YouthNet has developed a range of complementary digital services to support young people, including:
    TheSite – the guide to life for 16 to 25 year-olds, with 2,000 articles/videos/blogs about job seeking, housing, sexual health, mental wellbeing, drugs and more. StepFinder – Local help, easily found. An app that pin-points the nearest local support service and shows young people how to get there and what to expect. Madly In Love – A digital service where young people can share how they feel about sex, love and mental health.

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Published on 02-Nov-2015