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NCVO and Volunteering England to merge on 1 January

Martyn Lewis, chair of the NCVO, and Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs, chair of Volunteering England, say the new body will be a stronger voice for volunteering and the sector

Martyn Lewis and Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs
Martyn Lewis and Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs

Volunteering England has formally agreed to merge with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations following six months of negotiations.

The merger will come into effect on 1 January 2013 and sees Volunteering England’s 1,800 members become NCVO members, boosting the latter’s membership to 9,900.

Under the terms of the agreement, Volunteering England will become part of NCVO and Justin Davis Smith, chief executive of Volunteering England, will become executive director of the volunteering at NCVO. Sir Stuart Etherington will remain as chief executive of NCVO. No staff will be made redundant as a result of the merger but a consultation about the future structure of the charity will take place later in 2013.

Volunteering England’s latest annual report shows that its income dropped from £5.46m to £2.68m in the year to March 2012, largely down to the removal or reduction of several large grants. The number of employees fell from 56 to 26 during the year. NCVO’s income for the year to March 2012 fell by £2.75m, from £10.14m to £7.39m – a drop of 27 per cent. NCVO ended the financial year with 88 employees, down from 115.

As part of the merger, NCVO has agreed to widen its threshold for free membership from organisations with an annual income of less than £10,000 to those with an annual income of less than £30,000. The new threshold reflects Volunteering England’s existing scheme and means the 1,100 members that already get free membership benefits with the old charity will continue to do so at the NCVO.

Martyn Lewis, chair of the NCVO, said: "Our members are at the forefront of building a better society and by coming together, we will be a stronger voice than ever for volunteering and the voluntary sector."

He added: "I’m particularly pleased that we are able to extend free membership to even more small charities today, many of which rely extensively on volunteers."

Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs, chair of Volunteering England, said: "The new organisation will be pivotal in shaping civil society while ensuring the voice of volunteering remains ever loud and clear," she added. "I wish the new board and executive of NCVO great success with the responsibilities they are taking on."

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