Aberdeen Foyer and VSA to merge later this year

Aberdeen Foyer and VSA to merge later this year
Third Sector Online

The homelessness charity and the social care charity plan no redundancies, says foyer chief Ken Milroy, but this could be reviewed

The homelessness charity Aberdeen Foyer plans to merge with the social care charity VSA later this year.

The charities announced in a joint statement on Tuesday that they were in formal discussions about working more closely together.

Ken Milroy, chief executive of Aberdeen Foyer, said the organisations were planning a merger once due-diligence work was completed. "Assuming this work gives the plans a clean bill of health, the merger could be as soon as 1 September," he said.

"Both boards do, however, need to be fully satisfied that the merger will be in the interests of the foyer and VSA," said Milroy.

Milroy said a merger would protect Aberdeen Foyer’s existing services and allow it to develop new services, something it had recently been unable to do because of financial constraints.

"The prospect of being part of a larger organisation that is more financially sound and has a number of complementary services and activities presents a great opportunity for the experience and skills that we would bring," said Milroy.

VSA has an annual turnover of £14m and employs more than 600 people; the foyer has an annual turnover of £4.3m and 100 employees.

Milroy said there were no plans for either organisation to make redundancies as a result of the merger, but this would be kept under review. "Were we not to be planning the merger, I feel there would be a higher risk of redundancy," he said.

There were also no plans for Aberdeen Foyer to change its name, said Milroy, because the charity would exist as part of a new group structure. Kenneth Simpson would remain as the chief executive of VSA, he said.

The two charities’ boards will continue to operate, but membership will "reflect the new group structure with opportunity for cross-membership", said Milroy.

In the joint statement issued on Tuesday, Simpson and Milroy said: "We are considering bringing our two charities closer together. Both VSA and the foyer have excellent track records and our plans will further enhance and strengthen the provision of tailored services to meet the needs of local people."