National disability charity, United Response, is pleased to announce its merger with the south west based Robert Owen Communities (ROC). The merger will take effect from today (1st April).

United Response has been operating for over 40 years and supports around 3000 people with disabilities and mental health needs, across the country, and is recognised as a leading provider of person-centred learning disability services. ROC has had a strong presence in Devon and Cornwall, for the last 25 years, and now supports some 400 people with learning disabilities.

United Response already operates in Cornwall, Bristol and North Somerset and the merger will help to secure the long-term future of existing ROC services at a time when the social care sector as a whole is seeing a continued reduction in public spending. United Response will also be embracing the opportunities to learn from ROC’s success story in the South West.

Tim Cooper, United Response’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with ROC, an organisation with an excellent track record and which shares our values and approach. This partnership will allow us to continue the outstanding work begun by ROC and to use our combined expertise to develop services that will deliver a secure future for people with learning disabilities in a challenging economic climate.”

David Wilson, ROC’s retiring CEO said: “ROC is currently in a good position but we recognise that we will be under pressure in future years. So we wanted to act now to safeguard the future of our support to local people with learning disabilities. We are very pleased to be merging with United Response, which has an excellent track record in providing support to people with learning disabilities and which shares our strong person-centred values.”

As of 1st April, ROC becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of United Response with David Wilson retiring at the point of merger. ROC will continue to trade under its current name and branding until 31st March 2017 when services will be relaunched under the United Response name.