handshakeHousing, support and employment provider Advance and KeyRing, an organisation that develops and supports local networks for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems are to merge this month. 

Advance provides housing and support for adults with learning disabilities or mental health issues, and employment advice for disabled people. As a January 2014, Advance provided a housing, support or employment service to more than 5,500 people.

KeyRing helps people with learning disabilities to live in their own homes but share their skills and talents with each other and with their communities.  

Tim Cooper, chief executive of Advance, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for both organisations to develop our work and offer a wider range of support to our customers. We want to improve the life chances of people with learning disabilities and those with mental health problems.”

Karyn Kirkpatrick, chief executive of KeyRing, added: “Our strong common purpose and similar values will give us a louder voice in the national arena and ensure the people we support achieve their ambitions.”

The new organisation will keep the KeyRing and Advance names and structures, and ensure current and future customers and members have access to the services and expertise across the new organisation.

It is hoped that the new organisation will see an increase in the number of customers and members, a growth in volunteering opportunities and volunteer networks, and the development of new services.