Two south London infrastructure bodies merge

Volunteer Centre Merton has been removed from the Charity Commission's register and merged into the Merton Voluntary Services Council

Merton Voluntary Services Council and Volunteer Centre Merton
Merton Voluntary Services Council and Volunteer Centre Merton

Two south London infrastructure bodies have merged to create a single focal point for the sector in the borough.

Volunteer Centre Merton was removed from the Charity Commission’s online register on Monday and has been merged into the Merton Voluntary Services Council, according to a statement posted on MVSC’s website.

The merger was supported by a grant of £381,667 from the government’s Transforming Local Infrastructure Fund, which was created to help infrastructure organisations collaborate and adapt to changing conditions and ran until September 2013.

"The merged organisation will provide a single point of entry for individuals and voluntary sector groups to access high-quality, integrated services and advice about volunteering and organisational development," the statement on the MVSC website says. It says that the merger was unanimously agreed on by the boards of both organisations.

The merged organisation will retain the MVSC name and branding.

MVSC will start the process of recruiting a new chief executive in September. This comes after the death of Chris Frost, its chief executive, in November. Frost had been with the centre since helping to found it in 1985 and was regarded as one of the leading champions of the Compact.

Ian Beaver, interim chief executive, said there had not been any redundancies so far among the 18 staff across the two organisations as a result of the merger, but did not rule out the possibility in the future. "It’s difficult to say because we’re right in the middle of the process of restructuring at the moment," he said.

The organisations were both previously based at the same premises, where MVSC will continue to be based, Beaver said.

The MVSC had an income of £905,884 in the year to March 2013, while the VCM's income in the same period was just over £400,000.

The TLI fund grant also resulted in the local black and minority ethnic group Merton Unity Network deciding to stop its capacity-building work for local groups. This work will now be carried out by the MVSC and the network will now concentrate on its BME campaigning work.

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