Fawcett Society and Young Women’s Trust open merger talks

12 Nov 2020 News

Millicent Fawcett's statue, unveiled in April 2018 in Parliament Square, is one of few statues depicting women

The Fawcett Society and Young Women’s Trust have started merger talks to see if they could have a greater impact as one organisation.

Discussions are ongoing between the boards of both organisations, although they stressed that these were currently “at an exploratory stage”, with no decision expected for several months. The charities confirmed that the latest move comes after years of working together.

They said in a statement that any future merger would help strengthen their collective ability to address the risk of the pandemic “turning the clock back on gender equality for a generation”.

Equal pay

The Fawcett Society had an income of £1.3m in 2018-19, according to the most recent accounts filed with the Charity Commission. This was up sharply on £775,000 the year before.

The income growth was partly a result of a £360,000 donation in 2018 by the former BBC journalist Carrie Gracie, who donated her backpay from an agreement with the broadcaster after resigning over the pay gap between female and male journalists.

The donation is being spent on a fund to support women seeking advice about pay discrimination.  

Budget deficits

Young Women’s Trust spent just under £2m against an income of £1.4m in 2019-20, according to its accounts.

The charity’s financial strategy over the next three years involves running large deficits to develop and expand some of its activities, funded from reserves and the returns on its £17m permanent endowment, according to the document.

The accounts show that the value of the charity’s investments fell by around £2m in 2019-20, as a result of market volatility caused by the pandemic. Trustees also drew down £250,000 from their investments last year to meet cash flow needs.

Charity bosses: 'We are exploring the potential impact of a merger'

In a joint statement, Fiona Mactaggart, the chair of Fawcett Society, and Jo-Ann Robertson, the chair of Young Women’s Trust, said: “Today we have announced that the boards of Fawcett Society and Young Women’s Trust have entered into potential merger talks.

“We are proud of our shared feminist agenda and we are exploring the potential impact we could have on behalf of the women we work for if we shared a strategic focus and combined resources.

“Both organisations are currently in a good financial position but we recognise the challenges that lie ahead.

“The work that we do every day on behalf of women across our country goes on as these merger talks evolve, and as women face even greater challenges as a result of the economic and cultural impact of coronavirus. It is important to note that this is still at an exploratory stage and no decision to merge has yet been made.”

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