Farming and food education charities plan merger

Linking Environment and Farming and Farming and Countryside Education, both in Warwickshire, say they expect to complete the process by the end of June

Two farming and food education charities have announced that they are to merge.

Linking Environment and Farming and Farming and Countryside Education, which already collaborate on numerous projects and are both based at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, are expected to complete the merger at the end of June.

A spokeswoman for Leaf said it was expected that the Face brand would remain in the short to medium term, but a full review of the new organisation’s branding would take place after the merger was completed.

Leaf had an income of £1.1m and spent £1m according to its most recent accounts, covering the year to 31 March 2016. Face brought in £683,000 and spent £569,000 in the year to 31 December 2015.

The merger would allow both charities to increase and expand their work educating the public about agriculture and food production, the spokeswoman said.

She said that Dan Corlett, chief executive of Face, would leave at the end of August for a new career.

Caroline Drummond, chief executive of Leaf, would remain in post and take on responsibility for the newly merged organisation, the spokeswoman said.

She said there would be no other job losses as a result of the merger. Leaf currently employs 15 people; Face has three members of staff.

Drummond said: "We are really excited at this opportunity, which comes at a time when it has never been more important to demonstrate and state the case for British agriculture. The potential merger offers a real opportunity for our two organisations to work together even more effectively and efficiently to deliver multiple benefits to our partners and stakeholders.

"The proposed merger will enable Leaf to further deepen our public engagement activity and allow the Face team to scale up their work, nationally and regionally, as the interface between agriculture and schools. Such a combination will undoubtedly strengthen the impact of both organisations and improve the public’s understanding of farming, food and the environment."

Corlett said: "This is a very exciting moment for Face. I am very proud of all the Face team has achieved and the place we hold as a leader in taking agriculture into schools. The exploration of this new phase would allow us to maximise Face’s expertise in creating systemic change in education and the potential for this newly expanded organisation to offer stakeholders and partners improved efficiencies and enhanced engagement, and create even greater opportunities for educating and engaging the public."

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