Five Age Concerns will not partner with Age UK

Two of them say the agreement would prevent them expanding and trading

Age Concern cares for the elderly
Age Concern cares for the elderly

Five independent Age Concerns do not intend to sign partnerships agreements with Age UK, the charity has confirmed.

A statement from Age UK, which was formed by the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged in 2010, said Age Concern Birmingham, Age Concern Liverpool, Age Concern Okehampton & Torridge, Age Concern Plymouth and Age Concern Slough & Berkshire East had all indicated they would not sign up to the new brand.

Age Concern Hampshire, is also expected not to sign an agreement because it is working on alternative Age Concern branding with three others. It said it would not make a formal announcement until 31 March.

The organisations that remain independent will lose the right to use the existing Age Concern branding on 31 March, although they will be able to continue using the Age Concern name.

Four Age Concerns - Birmingham, Slough and Berkshire, Liverpool and Hampshire - are working together to create new Age Concern branding.

Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East and Age Concern Birmingham said yesterday that they were unwilling to sign agreements with Age UK because they felt the terms could prevent them expanding into new geographical areas and carrying out trading activities.

Tracey Morgan, chief executive of Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East, said she expected many of the Age Concerns that had not yet made a decision to opt for continuing independently to use the Age Concern name.

Morgan said her organisation wanted to expand its trading services. "We're suffering significant funding cuts and we need to be able to expand our commercial activities," she said. "Any agreement we signed would have limited our ability to do that."

She said the proposed agreement had been "very one-sided" and "unsignable".

Shirley Goode, chief executive of Age Concern Birmingham, said the agreement threatened her organisation's autonomy. "We aren't dependent on Age UK for any money," she said. "There are only a few benefits to being part of a national alliance, such as professional indemnity insurance, which we can obtain elsewhere."

Independent Age Concerns would not look to set up a rival national body, said Goode.

Helena Herklots, services director at Age UK, said 113 Age Concerns had so far accepted a partnership offer.

"There are more than 300 local Age Concerns across England, and we have always estimated that roughly half will choose to become local Age UKs and about half will choose to become friends of Age UK," she said. The status of friend can be given to volunteer-led Age Concerns that do not have the capacity to become full partners.

"There will of course be a small number of local Age Concerns that do not wish to become either a local Age UK or a friend. Each Age Concern has to do what they believe is right for them and we respect their decisions as independent charities."

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