Cash-strapped education charity seeks merger or takeover

Financial pressures have forced a national education charity, based in Edwinstowe, to seek a merger or takeover to prevent it going bust.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 2:03 pm
Ben Slade, chief executive officer of SkillForce, based in Edwinstowe.

In partnership with schools, SkillForce and its flagship programme, the Prince William Award, have helped almost 15,000 pupils aged six to 18 over the past year.

But after hitting financial problems, it has called in the help of specialist business recovery and insolvency team, Smith Cooper.

Ben Slade, chief executive officer of SkillForce, said: “We are devastated that, despite an immense amount of hard work from everyone, we find ourselves in such a challenging position that we cannot continue to operate as we are.

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“It is my greatest hope that the charity and its award programmes can live on through a merger or acquisition. Our work, which makes such a difference to children and young people, must continue.

“Our financial position has been closely monitored for a long period of time, and it is the right decision to seek specialist help.”

The appointment of Slade, a former head teacher, helped to save SkillForce from going into insolvency in 2015. But heavy cuts to school funding have hot helped its fundraising pipeline.

Dean Nelson, of Smith Cooper, said: “Our attention is focused on finding a suitable purchaser for the business, so we can secure its future.”