Housing providers for older people announce merger

Anchor Hanover, created from Hanover Housing Association and Anchor Trust, will be England's largest care provider

Two housing charities have merged to create England’s largest provider of care and housing for older people.

Anchor Hanover, which has been launched officially today, has been created by the merger of Hanover Housing Association and Anchor Trust.

The new charity will run more than 60,000 homes for older people across 1,700 locations with more than 10,000 staff working for the organisation. Prior to the merger, Anchor had an annual income of £389.1m and Hanover had an income of £141.6m.

A spokeswoman for Anchor Hanover said that the merger would make the charity more efficient by negotiating better contracts with suppliers and pooling resources, as well as having more influence with government and local councils.

She said the new charity would be able to provide beneficiaries with more housing options in more locations than its two predecessors could alone.

There will be long-term efficiency savings from the merger through bringing the charity’s support functions together, the spokeswoman confirmed, but the charity would seek to recruit from within the existing workforce wherever possible.

But she said it was too early to confirm what the merger’s impact would be on the size of the new charity’s workforce, and both charities were operating with healthy surpluses before the merger was completed.

Anchor Hanover will be based in London, Bradford and Chippenham, Wiltshire, with Bradford the main office for corporate functions, the spokeswoman said. The charity’s office in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, will close, she added.

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, will lead the new charity. Hanover’s chief executive, Dame Clare Tickell, chose not to apply for the post.

Last year’s Third Sector charity pay study found that Ashcroft was the sixth-highest-paid person in the charity sector, with a salary of between £480,0000 and £490,000, a quarter of which was a bonus.

Ashcroft said: "For more than 50 years, Anchor and Hanover have helped people enjoy later life. In an ageing society, our housing, care and support is needed more than ever. Together, we can provide a bigger range of housing and care options and build more new locations.

"Anchor Hanover provides an exciting opportunity to create a brighter, happier future for more people. Crucially, our new organisation also enables us to offer better career options for colleagues and attract and retain great people."

Dr Stuart Burgess, chair of Anchor Hanover, said that the newly merged charity could offer "more options, have a stronger voice with government and local councils, operate more efficiently and build more properties for older people".

He said it had plans to provide more services for its beneficiaries, possibly including new homes for social renting, shared ownership or outright sale.

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