An exciting proposal to merge two successful and influential Hampshire based charities has been unveiled. Communities First Wessex and Community First New Forest have successfully served the community and provided effective support for charities and voluntary sector groups in their respective areas for many years.
The two organisations have been considering how they might work in closer collaboration seeking to save money and combine management functions whilst continuing to invest in local, frontline community services and support to improve the reach and impact of the voluntary sector. The two organisations believe that a merger is the best way forward and they are now working towards implementing this on 1 April 2020.
The new organisation will provide joined up support and services across more than 50% of Hampshire and will continue to have a presence, both in the New Forest and across the wider operating area of Communities First Wessex. We will maintain close links with local groups and be responsive to their needs, whilst also looking outwards to ensure that new funding opportunities are pursued to the benefit of our local communities.
Both charities help voluntary and community groups to deliver greater impact for their communities by harnessing the commitment and enthusiasm of local volunteers, providing advice and support with fundraising and delivering specialist training to the charity sector. The charities also provide much needed critical community services including transport for older and disabled people, specialist counselling services, shopmobility and support for vulnerable adults and young people.
“We firmly believe this merger will create a stronger, more efficient and effective organsisation to sustain and advance services for the benefit of our local communities. It is a great opportunity to create an organisation which will have real impact across a large part of Hampshire. We will have the scale and capacity to bid for more substantial funding, tocompete for larger contracts and to invest in developing new services. Our ability to do this is all the more important in the light of current, and prospect of further, reductions in public sector funding, reductions which mean many more people are likely to need charity support. Our whole organisations, Board members, staff and volunteers are delighted at the prospect of this merger.”
Beverley Jones, Chairman, Communities First Wessex
Mary Falk, Co Chair, Community First New Forest