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STATEMENT ON THE CHILDREN'S SOCIETY IN ENGLAND

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The Children's Society outlined plans for its future in England following yesterday's decision to withdraw from Wal...
The Children's Society outlined plans for its future in England following yesterday's decision to withdraw from Wales.

In addition to savings of£1.3m made from its withdrawal in Wales, the society is making cuts totalling£5.1m in England in its projects, fundraising and corporate services to make up the£6.4m shortfall the society needs to address to secure its future.

The decisions were taken by the trustees at the society's meeting of its trustee board last month.

Ian Sparks, chief executive of The Children's Society said: 'We have made cuts in England after a great deal of thought and consideration. We've reviewed how the organisation works and have tightened up our focus to enable the Society to evolve as a social justice organisation by taking forward the experiences of children and young people more powerfully than ever.

'These decisions mark a turning point for The Children's Society both in setting our finances straight and in moving towards our vision for the future of the society.

'It is vital that we retain our independence if we are to challenge injustice, which is why voluntary income is so important to us. Our vision requires us to have a large enough portfolio of programmes and projects to enable us to remain a player of influence with a distinctive voice, but not to seek growth for its own sake. To do this we need to develop a high public and political profile as a champion of children's rights.

'We want to challenge the injustices children face by taking their experiences forward to influence policy makers. For example, last year we worked with around 1,400 young people in prison. We want to take their experiences forward to challenge the youth justice system so that in the future no children will have to suffer its injustices.

'Through our direct practice, research, lobbying and campaigning, we want to persuade policy makers to adopt our recommendations so they become embedded into mainstream child care. This means working increasingly with government, both as an organisation developing ground-breaking practice, and as an organisation challenging government to address the injustices children face.

'We do, however, have to make cuts and this in turn means we will have to close projects and there will be redundancies in the organisation as a result. These have been tough decisions to take, but in the circumstances, and given our financial situation we feel there is no alternative.

'Rather than just try to balance the books in the short term, we believe we have cut deep enough to prevent the need for further cuts in the future. More importantly we have freed up resources to accelerate progress towards being the kind of dynamic and sustainable organisation we need to become.

'Our decision about Wales, announced yesterday, was made with great sadness and regret. We have worked in Wales for 113 years and in that time we have been supported generously and unstintingly by the people of Wales and in particular throughthe Church in Wales.'

Other information

- The Children's Society currently runs 102 projects on 126 sites in England and Wales, including 13 projects in Wales.

- The society will close some 26 projects in England over the coming year. This is on top of the nine projects closed last year.

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