Supplementary Memorandum from The Children's
The Children's Society's Decision to Withdraw
From Wales: A Briefing
1. The Children's Society, along with all
other charities is facing an uphill struggle to raise funds in
the current climate. Amongst the hardest hit charities are medium-sized
charities, church charities and children's charities. We fall
into all three categories.
2. The Society deeply regrets ending 113
years' work in Wales. Our supporters in Wales have worked unstintingly
on behalf of children and young people in Wales. However, we are
unable to close the gap of over £1 million a year between
the costs of operating in Wales and the funds we raise.
3. The Society has rightly supported the
costs of working in Wales, but the current financial picture means
this is no longer viable. We can no longer afford to plug the
year on year gap in funds.
4. The decision to withdraw from Wales was
taken because it is the only option available. This year the Society
anticipates ending the year with an operating deficit of £4
million. This figure follows deficits over the last four years
of £24 million in total.
5. There is £13 million remaining in
general liquid reserves. The general view in the children's charity
sector is that these reserves for a charity our size should be
£20 million, a view shared by our auditors.
6. In total we need to make savings of £6.4
million. Of this £5.1 million will come from England, and
£1.3 million from Wales.
7. Last year the Society cut nine projects
in England. The Society is expecting to cut up to another 26 projects
in England (the final details will be announced in January) as
part of the plan to refocus our work. This is in addition to closing
the 13 projects the Society currently runs in Wales.
8. To continue in Wales would have made
operations in both countries unstable.
9. To scale down work in Wales would mean
we would not be a national player in Wales and we would be unable
to influence the social policy agenda. We would be operating a
shadow service and letting down children and young people there.
Instead, it seems better to concentrate our efforts to transfer
our services to other operators so that they can continue with
the support of other organisations.
10. The Society's objective is to ensure
that its services can continue after we exit from Wales. We are
involved in the following initiatives to ensure as far as possible
that this can happen:
We are working with and supporting
our staff group in Wales who are exploring the possibility running
their own charity based in Wales.
We have confirmed our commitment
to honour contracts with projects which will allow some projects
to continue beyond the current deadline of 2002.
We are exploring the possibility
of extending the deadline of July 2002 by eight months to March
2003 so that services have the best chances of continuing.
We are exploring ways of transferring
fundraising resources (shops, committee supporters etc) so that
our supporters can continue to put their energy and financial
support into helping children in Wales.
We are talking to the charity commission
to help release appropriate fixed reserves so that they can offer
to support future work in Wales.
The Society has stopped new fundraising
activities in Wales, although previously planned activities will
continue in keeping with legal requirements. We have been asked
to keep our fundraising operational so that we maintain a list
of supporters who will be able to contribute to a new fund/body
that is set up. All funds raised in Wales (and more) will be spent
We are committed to exploring all
options to ensure as far as possible that our services can continue
after the Society withdraws from Wales.
17 December 2001