£147m social care trust announces merger

Charity

A major social care trust has merged with a smaller charity, in a bid to strengthen the organisation and improve capacity for social care provision.

The Orders of St John Care Trust, a charitable trust that provides social care services to older people in England, is merging with The Fremantle Trust, a smaller social care provider.

OSJCT provides care to nearly 3,000 older people and manages 61 care homes across the country. It also has eight extra housing schemes across Gloucester, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, West Sussex and Wiltshire.

The Fremantle Trust, which provides services to older people and adults with learning disabilities, supports more than 750 people and operates 11 care homes across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Milton Keynes and Hertfordshire.

The charities have yet to confirm whether there will be any redundancies made as a result of the merger. 

But according to the Fremantle Trust website, Jacqui Roynon was appointed chief executive of the trust upon the merger, moving into the top job from her previous role as director of people at OSJCT, which she had served in since February 2021. 

Dan Hayes, chief executive of the OSJCT Group, has been appointed as chair of the Fremantle Trust. 

According to the website, Hayes will be responsible for all aspects of the Trust’s operations, including the care of residents and tenants and the financial performance of the organisation.

According to its latest accounts filed with the Charity Commission, OSJCT had an income of £146.8m in the year to the end of March 2023, while The Fremantle Trust had a total income of £44.3m over the same period.

In a statement, OSJCT said the merger was an “excellent strategic fit for both charities”, since they share the same charitable objectives and a “values-led approach to care”.

It added: “Together, the charities can achieve greater benefits for residents through shared size, pooling of resources and economies of scale.”

OSJCT employs more than 4,400 staff members and manages more than 500 volunteers, the statement said, while The Fremantle Trust has more than 1,300 employees.

Dan Hayes, chief executive of the OSJCT, said: “Our two organisations share so many core values which ensures that this merger is an ideal fit.

“Pooling resources makes us stronger, more able to invest in our future, and fundamentally, more sustainable.  We expect to learn a great deal from our new colleagues, and we see this opportunity as a great privilege.”

Jim Burness, outgoing chair of The Fremantle Trust, said: “This merger is a testament to our collective dedication to caring for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“These are challenging times for social care. Together we have greater capacity to provide residential social care services, by charitable organisations, for the benefit of those that need it.”

Both charities have yet to respond to requests for comment.

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