Proposed merger of seven County Durham infrastructure bodies in jeopardy

The voluntary organisation 2D is the latest to reject the idea of forming a single county-wide service

Durham County Council
Durham County Council

Plans to merge seven infrastructure bodies in County Durham are in doubt after a fourth organisation pulled out of talks.

Durham County Council funds the seven voluntary sector infrastructure organisations – 2D, Cavos, Derwentside CVS and Volunteer Bureau, East Durham Trust, Chester-le-Street CVS, Durham City District CVS and Durham Rural Community Council – but has proposed the formation of a single county-wide service.

2D, which has become the latest to reject the idea, said it feared a merger would mean less support for people in Teesdale and Wear Valley.

Cavos, Derwentside CVS and East Durham Trust rejected the proposals at an early stage.

The merger proposal is the result of an independent report commissioned by Durham County Council that found significant variations in performance among the seven organisations.

Ian Lyle, chair of 2D, said: "It is a real regret that we haven't been able to make these discussions work. We were worried the move to a county-wide organisation would leave the communities we have worked with all these years without the support they want and need."

Gordon Elliott, head of partnerships and community engagement at Durham County Council, said: "We are disappointed that, just as we were due to ask cabinet to allocate funding to enable 2D and other partner agencies develop proposals for change, they decided to withdraw.

"The review was developed in partnership with the seven support agencies and the council was excited by the opportunity to work with them. Its disappointing that having indicated they were willing to be part of these discussions, 2D have changed their mind. We now need some time to consider our next steps."

A date has not yet been set for the council's cabinet to consider the proposals.

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