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Local charity Age UK Faversham and Sittingbourne to merge with Age UK Medway

Published on 24 May 2023 09:01 AM

Age UK Medway are pleased to announce, following much consideration and discussion with local charity Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne, the positive decision of a planned merger between Age UK Medway and Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne. 

The Trustee Board of Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne approached Age UK Medway as a practical measure to ensure sustainability for the vital services provided to the older people of Faversham, Sittingbourne and surrounding areas.

The Trustee Board of Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne invited Age UK Medway to join their contingency planning discussions upon receiving notice of the departure of their CEO, Clare Burgess, and wish to make the following statement;

“We are very sad to lose Clare’s skills and expertise from the charity and we wish her every success in her new chapter. Clare successfully led the charity through the Covid pandemic, indeed joining right at the start of lockdown one. She was instrumental in redesigning services to enable the charity team to support our community through the worst of the pandemic and through her leadership the team were kept safe and not one case of Covid was identified during the successive lockdowns.

More recently, Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne had their grant funding of £350,000 withdrawn from Kent County Council, but thankfully with Clare’s income generating experience and partnership skills the charity has managed to work with a number of funders and partners to successfully plug some of this gap.

Clare’s resignation from the charity has given the Board of Trustees of Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne some time to reflect on the best way forward for the charity, our team, and our beneficiaries. The current climate is not a positive one, our local authority is unlikely to be in a position to give any future funding and charities all over the country are shutting their doors.

Working in collaboration, partnerships, and creating income generation are the ways that charities will survive the next few years and many funders wish to ensure their funding is given to charities who are sustainable and less fragmented.  To this end the Board of Trustees have unanimously agreed to merge Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne with Age UK Medway.  This decision, we feel, is a hugely positive step and will give further sustainability to ensure the longevity of the charity’s ability to continue to support our beneficiaries and reduce the postcode lottery of services in the areas of Medway, Sittingbourne, Faversham and surrounding areas."

Age UK Medway have recently expanded their reach to North West Kent in order to sustain services provided by local charity Age UK North West Kent (now operated under Age UK Medway) and also in the development of their ongoing project The Clarendon Royal Community formerly known as The Clarendon Royal Hotel.  Age UK Medway Group CEO John Norley said;

“The approach from Clare and her Chair in March was a surprise, and losing a forward-thinker like Clare from the network of Age UK Charities will be a blow, but the Sittingbourne & Faversham Board’s decision is a sensible, and timely one.  I have long held the view that rationalisation of our network towards regional hubs is a more efficient use of the charities hard earned funds and can lead to tremendous efficiencies which release more money and time to dedicate to the development of improved services for older people.

Age UK Medway has a track record of sustainability through rationalised back of house operations, and merging with Sittingbourne and Faversham, hot on the heels of our recent transfer of the North West Kent services will provide a fantastic opportunity to reach a wider audience of older people in a consistent manner; rolling out our range of services across a geography which will now stretch from Dartford to Faversham will ensure continuity, and sustainability for older people, ensuring that every older person in North Kent can be supported to Achieve Life’s Fullness.”

Clare Burgess, current CEO of Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne leaves the organisation in July 2023 and the merger is due to complete in August 2023.

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