Disability charities Workwise and Papworth Trust to merge

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Bury St Edmunds disability charity Workwise is to merge with the Papworth Trust.

The 28-year-old social enterprise is to become part of the larger disability charity to ‘ensure its stability’.

Workwise, which has a head office, workshops and shop in Bury and has helped more than 5,000 people with mental ill health back into employment, gain qualifications and take part in community activities, will maintain its individual branding in the move.

Chief executive Val Beresford said: “It’s a difficult time for the voluntary sector all over the country. To ensure the stability of Workwise we thought it was the best way to go.”

She said the merger could see Workwise expand its services across the county.

Although Mrs Beresford will no longer have the role of chief executive, she will continue to lead Workwise.

David Martin, marketing director for the Papworth Trust, said the current economic climate has ‘made it more challenging for all charities’.

He said: “It makes more sense to ensure every pound we spend particularly for Workwise and disabled people gets spent on services and a lot less money is spent on back office.

“By bringing them together it means we need one HR team and we only need one chief executive.”

When asked if there would be any job cuts as a result of the merger, he said: “We don’t think so. The roles at Workwise are so specialised we’re very keen to keep all of those people on board.

“From our perspective we want to keep everybody who works at Workwise working at Workwise.”

Adrian Bagg, chief executive of Papworth Trust, said: “I want to reassure people that it will be business as usual.”

Due diligence on the move has been completed and it is hoped the merger will be finalised within the next six weeks.