A popular organisation which specialises in helping young people with learning difficulties including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is preparing to merge, writes Goolistan Cooper
Kids Can Achieve in Harrow Weald has been h elping support young people with special needs and their carers and families since it was formed in 2002.
It is now preparing to join with charity group The Westminster Society for people with learning difficulties in a move aimed at securing its long-term future.
The organisation is currently in negotiation with Westminster Society and Harrow Council over the transfer of its lease agreement for Cedars Hall in in Chicheley Road. Both parties expect to see the merger completed in September.
Kids Can Achieve chairman Simon Jarrett said the organisation had discussed plans with the families it works with and that the merger is good news for all.
He said: “It's very common to merge in the charity sector at the moment because of the economic climate."
The Westminster Society is a larger charity, with its turnover dwarfing the £1m roughly made by Kids Can Achieve each year.
Mr Jarrett said the pooling of resources would reduce the costs of its services and make it more efficient. He said: “It makes us stronger, it guarantees our future being part of a bigger stronger organisation. We will be less vulnerable to cuts that will affect everyone.”
And he stressed the merger would not affect quality of service it provided, saying it will increase the number of people it helps, and work with people from further afield. He also believes the organisation and charity will learn from each other.
Mr Jarrett said: “Westminster Society do very similar work to us with children and have a very similar outlook to us. It works closely at a grass roots level with children and families.
“Also, Westminster Society works with adults we don't, so we will look to work with adults which will be a good thing for the borough.
“We will continue to go by the name of Kids Can Achieve in the borough. We are part of Westminster Society but the services we run in Harrow won't change.
“We have spoken to families and they should feel reassured this will guarantee services and continue to support the young people we work with.
“We see it as a positive move all round for the council, families and young people we help and the two organisations.”
Gabby Machell, chief executive of Westminster Society, echoed Mr Jarrett's sentiments. She added: “Both Westminster Society and Kids Can Achieve are passionate about the same sort of things and we look forward to working together in a way which benefits children with special needs in Harrow.
“We very much value the work of Kids Can Achieve and both organisations together will provide more choice, more control and better access to services and improved value for money.”
Kids Can Achieve is currently working with 300 families, and has helped thousands of families since it formed.
The Westminster Society is a charity which aims to provide quality care and new opportunities for people living in the central London borough with learning difficulties.