Spurgeons acquires school counselling and parental support charity Fegans

A young girl and a counsellor working on a project together, during a school counselling session

Fegans, a school counselling and parenting support charity based in the South East of England, will transfer into Spurgeons Children’s Charity (Spurgeons) on 1 July 2021.

Inspired by the Christian faith, Spurgeons, like Fegans, has built a reputation of excellence over the last 150 years working with children and young people.

The goal of the acquisition is to build on that reputation as part of Spurgeons long-term strategy — giving the growing number of children in the UK, made vulnerable through challenging circumstances,1 a better home-life so they can flourish and fulfill their potential.

After over a year of prayer and due diligence work, the boards and executive teams of both charities concluded that together, they can act as a greater force for good, with a shared vision, mission and faith. Spurgeons acquisition of Fegans will build on the charity’s current services that support parents, whilst enabling them to begin providing counselling for children through schools.

For both charities, the acquisition provides long-term sustainability and more potential for growth. Together as one charity, Spurgeons, which now includes the services and staff of Fegans, aims to help transform the lives of children and families facing significant challenges — particularly in the wake of lockdown. This will be achieved through an increased geographical footprint, interrelated services, shared expertise and a strong infrastructure. For example, children supported by Spurgeons prison-based family support services can now also be referred to school counselling to grow support for families, and vice versa.

Spurgeons Chief Executive, Ross Hendry, says, “Integral to Fegans transferring into Spurgeons is a shared ambition to model and reflect our Christian faith through the work we do with children and families. Spurgeons has been planning its long-term future for some time and we’re delighted to welcome Fegans into Spurgeons.

We share a faith-based heritage and ethos, as well as an ambition to support vulnerable children to have a home-life where they find the love, peace and safety that enables them to flourish. We also both value partnerships with churches as an integral part of who we are and how we want to work.

“The children we seek to help often face difficulties because of their families’ circumstances that are beyond their control and too difficult to manage alone. The counselling and support that Spurgeons and Fegans bring can help children better deal with mental health challenges that might arise from these challenging circumstances.

“There are several areas where we feel it is important that Spurgeons respond to children and young peoples’ needs by developing services that can reach and support them. To that end, the acquisition offers immense potential to be able to build on the work of both charities.  Fegans school-based interventions and services will widen Spurgeons service base — with the aim of reaching more children to support them in their home-life — and diversify our income sources.”

Ian Soars, Fegans Chief Executive, says, “Fegans will continue to care for children but, as part of Spurgeons, our capacity to reach many more children is unparalleled. Together, we can make a greater impact on a greater need, as we sustainably grow our long-term support for these children and families.”

Fegans, with head offices in Tunbridge Wells, has a total income of around £1 million a year and approximately 100 employees — the majority of whom work part time and during term time only — and 20 volunteers. Spurgeons will continue all of Fegans current work and every member of staff will be transferring their employment to Spurgeons under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment). Spurgeons runs around 50 projects across the country with over 400 employees and 150 volunteers. They have contact with over 30,000 children and adults every year.

There will be minimal changes resulting from the acquisition for most staff, as both charities prioritise continuity of the services provided in order to minimise disruptions, for both colleagues and the children and families they serve, as far as possible.

Ian Soars, Fegans current CEO, will join the senior executive team of Spurgeons, retaining responsibility for Fegans services within Spurgeons and reporting into Ross Hendry.

While Fegans will no longer function as an independent charity, Spurgeons is committed to keeping the Fegans name linked to the work of supporting children and young people. How the Fegans name might be used in the future and where, will be informed by a review later this year. It has also been agreed that two of Fegans five trustees will join the Spurgeons Board of Trustees.

Spurgeons and Fegans have a similar heritage. Both charities started children’s orphanages around 150 years ago as an outworking of their Christian faith.

Fegans is named after James Fegans who started children’s orphanages in 1870, a couple of years after Charles Spurgeon did the same just down the road – they may well have been acquaintances. Today Fegans provides qualified counselling to vulnerable children, parenting to struggling families and own two preschools that both operate as family hubs in Kent, Sussex, South London and Oxford

To learn more or partner with Spurgeons Charity to give the growing number of vulnerable children and young people a home life that is loving, peaceful and safe, please email info@spurgeons.org

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