UK Youth and Ambition


Ambition and UK Youth both have a long history of supporting young people and the youth sector. Our common heritage as The National Association of Clubs for Girls (UK Youth) and The National Association of Clubs for Boys (Ambition) has provided a lot of synergy throughout our history, spanning over 90 years.

After careful consideration, it has been agreed that Ambition will become a subsidiary of UK Youth. The move will allow us to closely collaborate while maintaining our individual assets and activities.



1. What is happening?

Ambition has joined UK Youth as a subsidiary. The move brings together our long and illustrious histories to empower millions of young people to build bright futures. After careful consideration and consistent feedback, we are confident that this move is in the best interests of young people, organisations working with young people and the wider youth sector. 

Through coming together we will be better placed to put young people at the heart of decision making, and to work closely with the diverse organisations in our combined membership to inform the development of joined up, systems based approaches to delivering high quality services for young people. We are excited to be able to work with our members to adapt and grow models that work locally into other regions of the UK.


2. What does Ambition being a subsidiary of UK Youth actually mean?

There are lots of different ways to merge two organisations together, but in our case we’ve adopted a new Group structure. From a legal perspective, this means that Ambition will continue to operate as an independent charity with a Royal Charter and its own board of Trustees, but will become a subsidiary of the parent company, UK Youth. 


3. Why are Ambition and UK Youth merging?

Ambition and UK Youth both have a long history of supporting the youth sector. Our common heritage as The National Association of Clubs for Girls (UK Youth) and The National Association of Clubs for Boys (Ambition) has meant that we have shared a common purpose for over 90 years and today, we are equally committed to promoting access to appropriate, high quality services for young people in every community and online.  

Currently, we offer complementary services to our members, young people and the sector so through closer collaboration, we will be better positioned to reach our vision of empowering all young people to build bright futures, through three 2020 goals: 

  • Young people can access support in their community or online 
  • Young people develop life skills (become motivated, self-aware, receptive, resilient,  responsible, confident, and good communicators)   
  • Young people can engage with training, volunteering or employment  


By coming into the same group, UK Youth and Ambition will be able to provide a united voice and share learning to support more young people through their social development journey. We will continue to operate through the model of:  

  • Understanding and building on the strengths of young people 
  • Offering support and advice to youth service providers  
  • Running world class skills development programmes for young people  
  • Measuring impact and sharing learning  
  • Influencing policy and funding to prioritise services for young people 


Looking ahead, our aim is to create a movement of youth organisations committed to supporting young people from all backgrounds and circumstances to build bright futures. Through this movement, we will ensure easy access to appropriate, high quality services for young people in every community.  


4. Why do you believe this is best for young people and the sector?

Young people and the dedicated organisations supporting them have always been at the heart of everything Ambition and UK Youth do, including our decision to come together. By creating one structure from which we can support and promote access to appropriate, high-quality services for young people in every community, more young people will have their voices amplified and be empowered to build bright futures. Our combined national reach provides a stronger foundation on which to develop innovative, youth and community led solutions to the challenges young people face today. 

A potential merger is something we are both asked about on a monthly basis. It’s a move that has been encouraged by a wide range of decision makers and funders. By working together in this way, we are confident we can increase our influence over national and local government through combining resources and speaking with one voice.  

The move will also allow for greater investment in tools to empower and support young people and a stronger, centrally coordinated portfolio of world-class skills development programmes and youth engagement activities that are accessible to all young people in every area of the UK. Through closer collaboration, we will ensure we’re not competing with one another for key funding sources or duplicating services and will be better placed to provide a professional, efficient and impactful use of resources.  


5. Who will be CEO?

Anna Smee will remain CEO of UK Youth, the parent organisation. She will be responsible, with the UK Youth Board of Trustees and the UK Youth management team, for setting the strategic direction of the group, developing the group operating model, and promoting the value of the combined offer. Anna will work closely with the Ambition CEO and Board to ensure a joined up approach is taken across the group. 

During Anna Smee’s maternity leave, the former Youth United Foundation CEO, Lindsay Levkoff Lynn will be the Interim CEO of UK Youth, with over arching responsibility for the group. 

Emma Revie will remain CEO of Ambition, operating as a subsidiary of UK Youth. She will be responsible for integrating Ambition into the group, including taking the lead on the joint membership consultation, aligning existing training and national programmes, embedding Ambition Quality, and spearheading new joint initiatives.  


6. What happens next?

Over the next few months UK Youth and Ambition staff will work together to integrate our overarching delivery models and consult with members and partners on what a new combined membership offer should include from March 2018 to ensure we’re offering the best services and support to our members and young people.  


7. How will this impact on stakeholders?

The move will benefit our stakeholders, who will continue to receive the same services and will also profit from us working closely together. Moving forward, it will strengthen our delivery, including the 2020 strategy, support for members and world class skills development programmes. 

Members of both organisations will continue to receive their current membership services and will be invited to participate in the consultation to help design an enhanced joint membership offer. As new synergies are identified over the coming months, it is hoped that members will start to feel the positive impact of our organisations working together. 


8. What will happen to the Ambition brand?

Ambition has become a subsidiary of UK Youth but remains a separate organisation within UK Youth, with its own board of trustees.  Ambition’s brand and membership services will be maintained until the outcomes of the joint member consultation are known.


9. Were members and stakeholders consulted prior to Ambition becoming a subsidiary of UK Youth?

Yes. In recent years, Ambition and UK Youth have both received consistent feedback from members and stakeholders that a merger would be a positive move for the sector. By Ambition becoming a subsidiary of UK Youth, the legal framework has now been established to ensure more effective, joined up working. Members are at the heart of both organisations’ work and over the next few months we will consult in more detail with both our memberships to shape a united service offering.  


10. What will happen to the employees of each organisation?

All UK Youth staff will remain in post. Ambition staff will either remain employed by Ambition (as a subsidiary of UK Youth) or be offered new posts within the UK Youth parent organisation, depending on their area of expertise. There are no redundancies as a result of the merger.


11. How will this impact on UK Youth's 2020 strategy and Ambition's current strategic priorities?

It’s UK Youth’s mission to provide access to appropriate, high-quality services for young people in every community. To do so we have set three core goals for 2020:

Goal 1 - Young people can access support, advice & training in their community or online  

Goal 2 - Young people develop life skills (become motivated, self-aware, receptive, resilient, responsible, confident, and good communicators) 

Goal 3 - Young people can engage with training, volunteering and employment 

Ambition’s mission is to support organisations working with young people to increase their reach, impact and quality.  To do this we have set the following strategic priorities for 2017- 2020: 

1. Harness Insight - through continually listening to our members and effectively capturing and analysing their data to support them to respond quickly and effectively to changing needs. 

2. Deepen Impact – be at the forefront of effective impact measurement, by developing a robust framework to objectively measure the positive difference our membership make as a collective. 

3. Increase Quality- identify and endorse excellence in the youth sector and support quality improvements through training, investment and resources.

4. Build Community - bring members together to collaborate and complement each other’s services, maximising their collective impact on behalf of young people. 

5. Diversify Income - secure national funding for grassroots delivery and support our members to explore new, innovative and sustainable sources of income, including social investment. 

6. Thought Leadership - convene our members and youth sector partners on a national scale to discuss and speak out on the macro and micro issues affecting young people today and tomorrow. 

The merger of Ambition and UK Youth will help both organisations to achieve these shared goals as we are able to closely collaborate, share learning, reach more young people and improve the quality of youth services across the UK.  


12. What will happen to Ambition Quality?

Ambition will continue to deliver Ambition Quality with access to additional resources and support from UK Youth to ensure organisations adopting it continue to receive the best possible service.  

UK Youth will continue to deliver the UK Youth Safe Spaces framework. The two services are complementary initiatives that provide accreditation for the end to end delivery of high quality youth services (Ambition Quality) and in depth contemporary safeguarding training (UK Youth Safe Spaces).   


13. Will this impact on funders' or individuals' donations to UK Youth?

No. UK Youth and Ambition will retain ownership of their individual assets and activities. All funds received will be used to fund the delivery of projects and programmes exactly as agreed. Moving forward, the merger will further strengthen our delivery, including youth engagement and voice, support for place based and online services for young people, innovation, outdoor learning, social finance initiatives and world class skills development programmes. 



Member specific Q&A


14. I am a member of both organisations, what does this mean for me now until March 2018 and then beyond?

During 2017/18, you will continue to benefit from the services you have been receiving from both organisations to date. UK Youth and Ambition will hold joint member consultations in the autumn to determine what a new, joint membership offer that best supports your mission should look like. These changes will be incorporated into our new member offer from March 2018, where you will only be required to pay one membership fee to access the full range of support services.


15. Will membership fees change?

There will be no change to member fees during the current membership year. Fees may change for some membership categories from March 2018, depending on the outcomes of the member consultation in autumn. 


16. What increase or decrease in benefits might members experience as a result of the merger?

During the reminder of the financial year, there will be no significant change to Ambition or UK Youth member benefits, and services will continue as they have to date. We will hold joint member consultations in the autumn to determine what benefits members from both charities would like to receive in 2018/19. These changes will then be incorporated into a new joint member offer from March 2018.


17. Will this affect any of UK Youth's programmes?

UK Youth will continue to deliver its entire world-class portfolio of skills development programmes including Money for Life, Generation Code, The Big Music Project, Internet Citizens, Active Youth, Road Code, and the newly launched FutureProof.

Just as before, all new programmes will be developed through UK Youth's model; we will work alongside young people, our members and supporters to co-create, co-develop and co-deliver solutions that empower young people with vital life skills to help them engage with training, volunteering and employment.

Ambition members will be welcome to co-create, co-develop and co-deliver UK Youth programmes from the 1st September 2017, and benefit from the financial support and free professional training this entails. 

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