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Trustee Announcement - 05/07/2024

The Trustees of Hunts Forum for Voluntary Organisations (Hunts Forum) and Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service (CCVS) have today announced their intention to explore a potential merger of the two organisations. 

The trustees feel that, in the past 5 years, there has been a significant increase in collaborative work undertaken under the shared brand of Support Cambridgeshire. Coupled with this the announcement of the retirement of Julie Farrow, the CEO of Hunts Forum, in April 2025 there is an excellent opportunity to look at a new way forward. 

Both Trustee boards feel that this potential merger is an opportunity to improve and simplify the services on offer to Cambridgeshire charities and community groups by bringing all services and support under one single charity. The proposal would be to merge the organisations under the Support Cambridgeshire brand. Support Cambridgeshire would keep its existing bases in Huntingdon and Cambridge as these facilities sit in key delivery locations and provide an important hub for stakeholders, members and other partners.

Under one single charity, we would also be able to simplify and build our communications and refine our hugely valuable support and training offer.  

The Trustees have arrived at this decision in light of both organisations being in a positive position both financially and reputationally. Collectively they feel that, as one unified charity, Support Cambridgeshire can more effectively and efficiently support and represent the sector. The aim of the merger would be to improve and streamline what is on offer to the sector and not be about reducing services. The Trustees believe that this will be in the best interests of both organisations - and the staff – and that it will result in a stronger and more sustainable organisation. 

The Trustees have confirmed that they will keep everyone updated with the project; and ultimately it will be up to the members of both organisations to make the final decision on the merger. The plan would be for members to make the decision at both AGM’s in November 2024 if this is fully agreed and endorsed by Trustees as the best route. Before that stage the Trustees of both organisations will carry out extensive due diligence and consultation to ensure that merger is the best way forward. 

Commenting on today’s notice of the potential merger between the two charities, the two board chairs, Flóra Raffai (CCVS) and Noel Kearns (Hunts Forum) commented.

“Since Julie Farrow announced her intention to retire in April 2025, it occurred to both of us that now was an opportune time to consider a merger.

The two organisations have been working more closely and have developed a number of joint projects and services under the Support Cambridgeshire brand as well as the Volunteer Cambs website.

Having discussed the prospect of a merger with our respective boards, and secured their support, we are working to further explore the viability of a merger.

Formal due diligence is now under way, in conjunction with consultation with both teams, our stakeholders and our respective members. Subject to both a positive consultation and satisfactory due diligence we will be asking our respective boards to propose the merger at our AGM’s.

As the collaboration has progressed, we both feel optimistic that this is the way forward and will benefit charities and communities across the county.”

Look out for upcoming consultation with members, the wider sector, and all our stakeholders and funders as it is important to understand your views. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact either Julie Farrow  Julie@huntsforum.org.uk at Hunts Forum or Mark Freeman mark@cambridgecvs.org.uk at CCVS.