By Andrew Holt

Community Matters and NAVCA have announced merger talks.

Both trustee boards have discussed merger and believe that it would create a new force in local voluntary and community action and be a powerful champion for local charities and community groups.

A steering group to look at the possibility of merger between the two organisations has now been formed.

The group is made up of trustees and senior staff from both organisations and it will produce recommendations to be considered at the AGMs of Community Matters (6 October) and NAVCA (14 November).

A merger decision requires the approval by both organisations respective memberships.

Alan Lloyd, vice-chair of Community Matters, said: “We have entered these discussions because we believe that together we would form a strong and ambitious single organisation.

"Trustees, elected by members, are leading this process. Community Matters and NAVCA are proud that first and foremost we are membership organisations, so our first step is to talk with members.

"We think members will see huge benefits from a merger that would create a new force for local community and voluntary action. We believe we can create a strong and responsive organisation built on the values of strong local communities, social justice, and a firm sense of place.”

Mike Martin, chair of NAVCA, said: “We have a really good history of working and campaigning together. Merger seems to be an obvious next step. We both support local organisations and we are both a national voice championing voluntary and community action.

"Importantly, we share the same values. However, our work is complementary not competing and we have separate memberships, who support the full range of local organisations at different levels.”

David Tyler, Chief Executive of Community Matters, said: “Now, more than ever, local voluntary and community action needs the united national voice and coherent support that a merger between NAVCA and Community matters offers.

"The vast majority of voluntary organisations are small but are the lifeblood of the whole sector. They currently face unprecedented challenges in getting funding, support and a fair hearing. A merger would create a powerful voice to stand up for local organisations and groups.”

Joe Irvin, chief executive of NAVCA, said: “Merger would enable us to speak with a common voice on key issues, share best practice and to reach deeply into the local sector.

"But as well as benefitting members, local charities and community groups, we would want to work closely with other community and voluntary networks who share our vision and values to give national and local government and funders a simple route to the local voluntary and community sector.

The new organisation would be a major new organisation that would champion and foster local voluntary and community action.”

Key stages:

July 2012 – Merger discussions begin, led by a NAVCA-Community Matters Steering Group.

Summer 2012 – Consult with members to get their views and ideas

6 October 2012 – Community Matters AGM.

14 November 2012 – NAVCA AGM.

2013– New organisation would be launched if merger talks proof successful and both memberships agree it.

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