A DISABILITY charity whose homes were rated 'inadequate' by inspectors has announced it will be merging with a housing association.

Housing association Aster Group announced on Monday, August 1 that the disability charity Enham Trust is set to join its group, subject to consultation and final approval in the autumn.

Enham Trust is a disability charity that supports disabled people to live, work and enjoy life to the full, with the belief that disability should not act as a barrier. While primarily based in the Andover area, it also provides services across Somerset, Wiltshire and Plymouth.  

In July, the Enham Trust's care homes were rated as 'inadequate' by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and the charity was put into special measures.

Aster Group chief executive Bjorn Howard said: “The decision we have taken is about doing the right thing in challenging times. By working together, Enham Trust could draw on the larger resources and expertise of our group, helping to ensure it could provide high quality housing and care services across its communities into the future."

READ MORE: Enham Trust disability charity care homes rated ‘inadequate’ by Care Quality Commission

Aster Group says the move would help to secure the long-term future of Enham Trust, which was founded in 1921. Being part of the larger group would mean it could take advantage of Aster’s financial position, its expertise in customer services, care and social impact, and the groups’ investment programme. The trust’s offer would also complement the Aster Foundation charity’s mission of enabling better lives for local communities.

Aster said it has enjoyed a strong working relationship with Enham Trust over a number of years, partnering with the organisation to break down barriers concerning disability and mental health. The partnership has seen Aster employees fundraising and volunteering for the charity, and the trust has helped guide Aster to reach its ‘Disability Confident Leader’ status.

As well as its core business, Aster Group is also home to Dorset-based East Boro Housing Trust and London-based C&C, both of which provide housing and support to older and vulnerable people.

Mr Howard continued: “Enham Trust is driven by its belief that disabled people deserve to live full and happy lives and that their disability should not act as a barrier. With the support we are committed to providing Enham, I’m confident that this amazing charity would continue to thrive long into the future, as part of Aster Group.

“Aster, EBHT, C&C and Enham Trust all share a strong social purpose that make our group’s activities crucial to the communities we serve.”

SEE ALSO: Housing association and charity team up on disability in the workplace scheme

Enham Trust owns more than 300 homes including those for social rent, supported living and residential care services. They also offer a range of non-housing-based services that promote independence, including care at home, supported employment, education and training opportunities, and direct payments services, supporting well over 7,000 disabled people every year.

Enham Trust chief executive Simon Williams said: “We’re excited that we are set to join Aster Group, the merger being proposed will mean we can do even more for our current and future residents and service users.

“Aster are as passionate about Enham’s work as we are. They have a strong sense of social purpose and are committed to the long-term delivery of Enham’s purpose, supporting disabled people to live, work and enjoy life.”

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