No Smoking Day is to merge with the British Heart Foundation in March next year in an effort to secure its future following a 50 per cent reduction in its funding due to government cuts.
No Smoking Day has existed for 28 years. It offers support to thousands of local organisations such as GP surgeries and schools to arrange stop-smoking events on one day each a year.
But following public spending cuts the charity’s income reduced from just over £1m in the year ending March 2009 to £418,000 in the year ending March 2011. The Department of Health funding was reduced from £250,000 to £125,000 and there was no funding from the Scottish government or related agencies.
Amit Aggarwal, chief executive of No Smoking Day, said: “No Smoking Day is one of the UK’s longest-standing and most successful public health campaigns. But like many charities we’ve been severely affected by public service cuts with 50 per cent of our total funding wiped out. Fortunately we’ve found a stable, long-term future for No Smoking Day with the BHF.”
In July 2010 the charity drafted a strategic plan for its future which prioritised ensuring sustainable funding and creating new stakeholder networks and partnerships.
The merger with BHF will see two No Smoking Day employees, marketing manager Vishnee Sauntoo and business manager Judith Skinner, join the 45-strong policy and communications team at BHF.
Betty McBride, director of policy and communications at BHF, said: “By joining forces we can enhance the No Smoking Day campaign and extend its reach – helping more people quit – as well as strengthening our policy and lobbying work. For both organisations, the opportunities posed by this merger were too good to miss.”
All No Smoking Days trustees have stepped down as part of the merger. Its chief executive, Amit Aggarwal, was retained on a fixed-term contract until November to secure the financial future of No Smoking Day and lead the team through its 2011 campaign.
A BHF spokesperson said: “He (Aggarwal) has done an excellent job on both counts in an uncertain environment. Amit led the merger negotiations and hopes to continue working in the voluntary sector.”
No Smoking Day will retain its brand in the merger although BHF is discussing how best to incorporate the BHF brand into the name:
“The NSD name is well recognised by smokers, healthcare professionals and journalists alike, and the BHF recognises the power of this. The BHF is now talking to members of the public and partner organisations about how best to introduce the BHF to the name but it doesn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise NSD’s existing reputation,” a BHF spokesperson told civilsociety.co.uk.
No Smoking Day is directly responsible for 250,000 people attempting to quit smoking each year, around 6,000 of which do so permanently.