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New partnership with Aquarius will help people with mental health and substance misuse problems

National mental health charity Richmond Fellowship and Midlands-based substance misuse support charity Aquarius are joining forces.

The two charities are entering into a formal partnership which will enable them to strengthen and improve the services they can offer to support people with mental health and substance misuse problems.

Richmond Fellowship has pioneered and practiced social inclusion and recovery for more than 55 years and is now one of the biggest voluntary sector providers of mental health care in England. It offers a wide range of housing, care, employment and community support, helping more than 9,000 people every year.

Aquarius was established in 1977 to run three residential services as part of a Birmingham University research project to look at developing new and effective interventions for people with alcohol problems. It has since sought to be involved in services and research programmes to improve understanding and support around alcohol and drug abuse and gambling addiction.

Richmond Fellowship chief executive Derek Caren said: “We believe that joining forces will allow us to offer a wider range of services, develop more innovative ways of providing support and reduce our costs. Aquarius brings with it a lot of expertise in the field of addiction services that will benefit the rest of our organisation.”

Aquarius chief executive Annette Fleming said: “We’re looking forward to working with Richmond Fellowship, there is much we can learn from each other to strengthen both charities and improve our service delivery.”

Aquarius becomes a subsidiary of Richmond Fellowship but will remain a registered charity and a limited company in its own right.

Aquarius is the latest voluntary sector organisation to join the growing Richmond Fellowship group which now includes 2Care, CAN, Croftlands Trust and My Time.

Richmond Fellowship chief executive Derek Caren explained: “Collectively we’re all passionate about being socially inclusive, person-centred, and recovery focused. These shared values will help us build better services going forward that can adapt and flex to the changing needs of the people we support.

“Coming together as a group will also ensure we’ve a solid financial foundation to be able to achieve all that we want. It’ll offer opportunities to make efficiency savings and streamline our processes, allowing us to invest more in our frontline activity.”

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