A former member of staff at the collapsed youth charity vInspired has launched a crowdfunding campaign to save the online volunteering platform.
Bob Barbour, former head of digital at vInspired, hopes to raise £30,000 to be able to keep the service running.
vInspired went into liquidation last November, with the loss of 26 jobs. Barbour has bought the digital arm of the charity and plans to re-establish it as a social tech enterprise, with a new funding model.
He needs to raise £30,000 by August to be able to keep the platform online until a long-term investment can be secured.
The digital platform, which gave young people aged 14 to 25 opportunities to volunteer in their communities and learn new skills, helped 1.4 million young people support over 8,000 charities in the years following its launch in 2009.
Last year alone, vInspired helped 31,439 young people to volunteer, logging 460,611 hours through the digital service, equivalent to a £2.3 million contribution to the economy.
Barbour said: “Since launching our GoFundMe campaign to save vInspired, I have been overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from volunteers and from the sector. I’ve been contacted by people who volunteered while at school or college and the confidence they gained while volunteering has even led some of these young people to offer mentoring and support to the next generation of volunteers. vInspired.com has helped more than a million young people volunteer since it was launched and I’d like to see it help a million more.
“For me personally, this is not only an opportunity to save a great product and all the social value it holds, but to develop a new model for the UK voluntary sector - a digital product that is sustainable and scalable, funded and shared by the whole sector and built and maintained to the quality and standards of the technology industry.
“On a personal level this opportunity represents the culmination of over a decade of work, challenge, frustration and hope; the chance to do social tech properly and deliver real and lasting social value.”
So far the campaign’s GoFundMe page has raised nearly £2,000 from 37 donors.