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Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation set to merge

11 Dec 2019 News

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation (BLF) have agreed to merge and expect to save around £2m a year in running costs.

The new charity will be called Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership, with a combined focus on respiratory health, and is likely to have an income of around £17m.

The merger was announced in November ahead of a vote at Asthma UK’s extraordinary meeting of members on 2 December. BLF’s board of trustees met this week to approve the plans.

The merger will be directed by an executive team and trustees from both of the original charities.

Kay Boycott will be the first chief executive of the partnership, having been chief executive at Asthma UK.

She said: “This marks the start of a new era which promises to bring significant benefits to people affected by asthma and other lung diseases. 

“It is an absolute privilege to be the first chief executive of the new organisation leading the start up of this innovative new venture.” 

Savings in running costs

The merger is expected to save significant amounts in running costs and release £2m a year toward their combined charitable purposes.

It builds on earlier collaborations, including the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health and campaigning for safer air.

Core charitable activities will continue to revolve around research, campaigning, helplines and the two charities' websites.

Boycott said: “Bringing together our joint vision and strategy will allow us to make even more impact, with more money to spend on ground-breaking research and support. 

“Our new organisation will combine the energy and passion of the UK’s top respiratory health charities, creating a powerful voice for change.”

Business planning to begin in January

A spokesperson for British Lung Foundation told Civil Society News that business planning for the new partnership will begin in January. 

The brands of both British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK will remain in use and services, including helplines, will continue to run.

The spokesperson said a decision about the location of headquarters for staff is still being made, but that the partnership believes British Lung Foundation’s office in Goswell Road, London would not have the required space. It is therefore expected that staff from British Lung Foundation will move to Asthma UK’s office in Mansell Street, London.

British Lung Foundation is the larger of the two partners with an income of £9.6m in 2018, 94 employees and 2,500 volunteers, according to the Charity Commission’s register.

In 2018 Asthma UK had £7.8m income, 90 employees and 376 volunteers.

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