Two London substance misuse charities to merge

Blenheim CDP and Casa join forces to improve chances of future funding

Blenheim CDP
Blenheim CDP

Blenheim CDP and Casa, two London-based substance misuse charities, are planning to merge by April next year.

Blenheim CDP, which has 127 staff, works primarily with illegal drug users across London, while Casa, which has 18 employees, is based in north London and specialises in alcohol services.

Geoff Ferguson, director of Casa, will stand down and the remaining staff members of staff will become part of Blenheim. The move will increase Blenheim’s turnover in 2011/12 from £8.2m to about £9m, according to John Jolly, chief executive of Blenheim.

Although Casa is being folded into Blenheim, its work with alcohol users in Islington, north London, will keep the Casa branding. Alcohol services delivered in other boroughs in future by Blenheim may also be carried out under the Casa name.

Some members of Casa’s board will join the Blenheim board. Jolly said the charities were not merging to make cost savings, but both organisations believed they would be in a better position to win future funding by working together.

"Casa has an excellent brand in relation to working with alcohol users - that’s one of our interests in the merger," he said. Changing funding streams meant that by 2013 there would be less money ring-fenced specifically for drug misuse, he said. Casa had concerns about its future ability, as a small charity, to win public sector tenders, he added.

Baroness Hayter, a trustee of Casa, said the merger would "put the organisation's ground-breaking work with those experiencing problems with alcohol use in Islington on a sounder financial footing."

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