Action Mental Health to merge with New Life Counselling
There is a new couple in town this Valentine’s Day, as Action Mental Health announces plans to merge with New Life Counselling, in a move that will pool resources, services and expertise, in a joint pledge to promote better mental health across Northern Ireland.
It is estimated there are between 7,000 to 12,000 charities operating in Northern Ireland, increasingly working for the same causes but competing for the same pots of funding.
In the last five years there have been fewer than 15 charity mergers in Northern Ireland, but joining forces, the Boards of Action Mental Health and New Life Counselling will endeavour, in a shared public duty, to ensure cost effectiveness and good value, while maintaining the highest quality service to its clients.
The full merger takes effect from April 1st 2020, meaning the two charities will no longer compete separately for similar funding sources, but will now combine vital resources, resulting in a joint income of £7.5 million, supporting Northern Ireland’s spiralling mental health needs and working to address the issue of suicide across the region.
New Life Counselling will integrate into Action Mental Health and will cease to be an independent charity. New Life Counselling will retain their core name which is well known to local communities, clients and professionals and be known as AMH New Life Counselling.
David Babington, chief executive of Action Mental Health, said: “The Board of Directors of each organisation recognised that there was a real need out there for quality counselling across Northern Ireland. With combined forces, we can provide the best possible outcomes for our clients across Northern Ireland, provide greater security for staff and make the best use of our resources.
“We all agree that there is a really good mix here, and a complementarity between the two organisations. The Boards of each have approached the move in the spirit of a merger and which will refresh our vision, mission and identifies a clear path forward, including new potential routes to funding.”
Norma Patterson, Chief Executive of New Life Counselling has described this as a milestone moment in the legacy of New Life Counselling’s history.
“We have created best practices and have been steadfast in our support of therapeutic counselling services in the most disadvantaged communicates across Belfast. Meanwhile, we’ve demonstrated our organisational resilience and ability to adapt to the changing needs of our clients through the most challenging times of the Troubles’ conflict. We have continued to support individuals, families and communities to achieve their potential. As we put our strengths together the goal of both organisations is to grow regional counselling services across Northern Ireland. Together we have a greater depth of resources and a broader platform for influencing regional policy and representing our clients.
“The current finding environment is challenging and the merger is the best way of ensuring we can continue to provide quality support to the people using our services. Action Mental Health is a charity that shares our vision, values and person-centred approach and like us, is committed to keeping the people we support at the heart of everything we do.”