More than half of organisations that provide support to charities are considering mergers to help them cope with the impact of the economic downturn, according to research by infrastructure body Capacitybuilders.
The Government agency's second recession survey found that 54 per cent of local support providers in England were thinking about mergers. Eighty-five per cent were exploring the idea of increased collaboration with other organisations.
Seventy-nine per cent of the 389 third sector infrastructure bodies that responded to the survey in October and November reported increased demand for their services over the previous year, and 42 per cent said their income had fallen over the same period.
Matt Leach, chief executive of Capacitybuilders, said: "Support providers are having to look hard at how to maintain levels of service in the face of continued high levels of demand and pressure on income.
"Effective partnership and collaboration at a local level and strong relationships with local government will become even more important to ensure the needs of front-line groups and communities continue to be met."
Capacitybuilders' first survey, carried out in May and June, found that the majority of organisations providing support to charities were coping well with the recession. The next survey will take place in April and May next year.