Local senior citizen's charity, Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne, has decided to merge with Age UK Medway to ensure it can still run its vital services for elderly people locally in the future.
It's understood that funding from Kent County Council is coming to an end soon and the board of trustees have taken the decision to merge with the nearby Medway branch following the news that their Chief Executive Clare Burgess was leaving.
In a Press Statement, they told SFM News “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“More recently, Age UK Faversham and Sittingbourne had their grant funding of £350,000 withdrawn from KCC, but thankfully with Clare’s income generating experience and partnership skills the charity has managed to work with a number of funders and partners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 and 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 and 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.”
It is understood that Clare Burgess will be leaving the organisation in July with the merger due to be completed in August.