Social action charity merges into Catch22

Community Links has been part of the Catch22 group since 2017

A social action charity based in east London has completed a multimillion-pound merger with the social business Catch22.

Community Links, which has a total income of about £3m a year and a team of more than 100 staff and volunteers, provides a range of services in youth, employment, health, advice and policy.

It has been part of the Catch22 group since 2017, sharing back office space and corporate services.

But the two organisations said they had “taken the next step in their relationship” and decided to proceed with a full merger.

They will have a combined total income of about £56m and more than 1,600 staff and volunteers.

In addition to financial savings, it is hoped the partnership will bring benefits in terms of sustainability, scope and scale.

Community Links will keep its name, branding and logo and operate a separate team and budget within Catch22, but the Community Links board will be dissolved.

Chi Kavindele, director of Community Links, will continue to report to Catch22, the organisations said.

Community Links said the Covid-19 pandemic had increased the speed of integration due to pressure on existing funds and a 400 per cent rise in demand for some of the services it provided.

A new advisory committee that reports to the Catch22 board will be tasked with safeguarding the future of Community Links’ work.

Recruitment is under way and several former trustees will move across to the advisory committee as a short-term measure to ensure continuity until it is fully established.

Community Links’ trading arm, Links Event Solutions, will also be transferred to Catch22 as part of the merger.

There will be no redundancies as a result of the changes, according to Catch22.

Kavindele said: “The merger provides us with the best of both worlds: the local know-how and embeddedness that comes with being a small community-focused organisation, and the technical expertise and resources that come with being part of a large national charity.”

Chris Wright, chief executive of Catch22, said: “The merger with Community Links is yet another exciting example of charitable organisations coming together and focusing on service users.”

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