Caravan and Sweet Charity begin consultation on merger

Gillian Barker of Caravan will become director general of the new organisation

Gillian Barker
Gillian Barker

Two benevolent charities that serve the food and drink industry have announced plans to merge.

Caravan, the trading name for the National Grocers Benevolent Fund, and Sweet Charity, the working name of the Confectioners Benevolent Fund, announced last week they had begun consulting on the proposal.

Jenny Fryatt, communications executive for Caravan, which has 11 members of staff and according to figures on the Charity Commission website had an income of £4.3m in 2010/11, said the consultation process had only just begun and there was no set timeframe for merger.

"A professional agency will be looking into a new name and brand for us," she said. "But for now we will both carry on with the existing structures we each have."

She said that both Caravan and Sweet Charity, which has 17 members of staff and had an income of £1.5m in 2011, were both in strong financial health.

"At the moment no redundancies have been planned," said Fryatt. "We will still cover all the same service areas, possibly with some new ones."

The charities issued a joint statement saying they could serve their beneficiaries better by combining resources.

Gillian Barker, Caravan’s director general, will become director general of the merged organisation when Patrick Davis, director general of Sweet Charity, retires at the end of August.

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