Leading charities deny merger claims


Charities will remain independent say bosses

10th August 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Two of the UK’s biggest disability charities have denied they are to merge following extensive press reports to the contrary.

Scope and Leonard Cheshire were reported to have had advanced talks and were to merge following the coronavirus pandemic.

However both have now said the reports are unfounded and that they have no plans to merge.

Mark Hodgkinson, chief executive at Scope, said reports were untrue that the charity had been aggressively cutting staff or holding merger talks with Leonard Cheshire.

He added: “Working in partnership is at the heart of our approach and we are always open to exploring any opportunities to better serve the needs of the UK’s 14 million disabled people and their families.

“We work closely with Leonard Cheshire, amongst others, through the Disability Charities Consortium and plan to work more collaboratively in the future to drive change for disabled people.”

Hodgkinson explained that Scope had made 20 staff redundant in the last year as part of operational decisions connected to how the charity delivers its strategy.

"In 2017/18, we transferred 1,600 staff as part of our decision to sell our regulated and day services. This marked a bold new direction for Scope to focus on tackling disability inequality, advocacy, information and support," he said.

David Jessop, executive director at Leonard Cheshire, also denied that talks had taken place. 

“We are not currently in merger discussions with Scope,” he said.

“Leonard Cheshire is committed to supporting disabled people to live, learn and work independently and this remains our sole purpose.”

Jessop said the long standing relationship between the two charities means they often discuss how best to meet the support needs of the 14m disabled people in the UK.  

“This ranges from joint initiatives to more formal arrangements, maximising our organisations’ impact and reach. We will always strive to serve the disabled community to the best of our abilities.”