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Wednesday, January 27, 1999 Published at 01:32 GMT


Aids charities to merge

The new charity hopes to reach 70% of England

Five UK Aids charities are to merge to form a single organisation under the banner of the Terrence Higgins Trust.

The pioneering move is the most complex yet undertaken in the voluntary sector and may herald a revolution in the way charities are run.

From 1 April The Terrence Higgins Trust will join with four regional charities - Bridgeside in Leeds, The HIV Network in Coventry, Sussex Aids Centre in Brighton, and OXAIDS in Oxford.

'No financial gains'

It is hoped that the new merged organisation will be able to provide a higher standard of service with better access for approximately 70% of those with HIV in England.

Chief Executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust Nick Partridge said that unlike financial mergers, there will be no financial gains for the organisations involved.

"This decision by trustees and agencies of all those involved sets a precedent for the voluntary sector where mergers are still relatively rare," he said.

"It is a brave and mature response to the changing HIV and Aids epidemic...the people who will benefit are those living with or directly affected by HIV."

Lecturer in voluntary sector organisation at the London School of Economics, Colin Rochester, said: "It is not driven, as so many have been, by a sense of acute financial or managerial crisis nor is it mainly about reducing costs, although there will be distinct economies of scale."

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