Homelessness charities to merge

Grenfell Housing and Training will become part of Evolve Housing + Support

The homelessness charities Evolve Housing + Support and Grenfell Housing and Training have agreed a merger, the two charities have announced.

The merger, which will take place on 1 April, will result in Grenfell, which provides supported housing and training services in the London boroughs of Merton, Kingston-upon-Thames and Wandsworth, joining Evolve initially as a subsidiary, before being fully integrated into the charity later in the year.

According to an Evolve spokeswoman, the merger will help to increase the charities’ financial strength, enhance service delivery and provide opportunities to develop new services for homeless people, including building more accommodation.

As part of the merger, all of Grenfell’s 29 staff will transfer to Evolve, which has 195 employees and was formerly called South London YMCA.

Evolve, which helps 1,500 people a year in five London boroughs, has an annual income of £10.2m; Grenfell has an income of £2.25m a year.

The spokeswoman for Evolve said two trustees from Grenfell would be invited to join Evolve’s board, and Jeremy Gray, chief executive of Evolve, would head the new charity. Grenfell’s chief executive retired in 2016.

In a joint statement about the merger, Diana Coman, chair of Grenfell, and Karen Cooper, chair of Evolve, said: "The starting point for our future vision is our shared view that all our service delivery and development should focus on the people we support, placing them firmly at the heart of all our work. This, along with our shared values, gives us confidence that there is good synergy between our two organisations. 

"We are delighted to bring our organisations together; this will be of real benefit to the people we support and our combined financial strength will enable us to continue to make a lasting difference to lives and communities."

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