Care advice body Counsel and Care saved by charity merger

Care advice organisation Counsel and Care has been saved from closing its services through a merger with another older people's charity, it announced today.

Care advice organisation Counsel and Care has been saved from closing its services through a merger with another older people’s charity, it announced today.

Independent Age has taken over the running of Counsel and Care prior to a full merger, which will be under the umbrella of Independent Age. 

The merger will bring together Counsel and Care’s social care advice and information service, which includes a helpline, with Independent Age’s support services for older people on low incomes, which includes financial aid, befriending and advice.

Independent Age chief executive Janet Morrison said Counsel and Care had expanded to bid to run local care advice and information services but the contracts they had anticipated securing from local authorities had not come through.

This had left it having to run down its reserves, while the three contracts that it did have with local authorities have come to an end due to its financial difficulties.

Chief executive Peter Watt, who took the helm of Counsel and Care in February, has restructured the charity and staffing numbers have been reduced, but all services – besides the local information services – have been maintained.

Morrison said that initially, Independent Age would have to support Counsel and Care from its own resources, and she would look to achieve “synergies” between the two charities when they merge, to reduce costs.

“It’s a really excellent service,” she said of Counsel and Care’s work and stressed that its role in policy and campaigning would also continue. She said she also intended to bid for local authority information and advice contracts in future.

“There has never been a greater need for information and advice for older people,” said Watt. “I am therefore delighted that the merger with Independent Age will not only secure the future of our services, but will strengthen them, allowing the delivery of a broader range of advice and support for older people.”

Watt will leave the organisation on 30 July having overseen the merger.

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