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The Children's Society - 140th Anniversary, Covid and 2030 Vision

This year the Society is celebrating its 140th Anniversary, making it one of the oldest charities in the country. 1881 to 2020 The Church of England Waifs and Strays Society, as it was then called, was founded by Edward Rudolf after he saw 2 of his Sunday School pupils begging following the death of their father. Early work was dominated by the provision of safe accommodation for vulnerable children. Later the Society opened residential nurseries for babies and children. It became a registered adoption agency in 1935 and placed several thousand children with families until the 1970s. By then fewer children were in homes or being placed for adoption so the Society refocused it’s work to preventative and community based projects and working for social justice for the young. In 2020 the Society worked with 11,500 young people and it’s research and campaigning created positive change for 1000s more. Covid The pandemic has made life even tougher for disadvantaged youngsters: - there are now 4 million children living in poverty and that figure is rising - on-line exploitation, both sexual and criminal has increased( county lines) - children are having more mental health problems - an estimated 100,000 young people are missing from home or care Successive lockdowns meant that the Society had to stop its face-to-face therapy sessions. But contact was maintained wherever possible using video links and telephone calls. Technology was provided if needed. When rules were relaxed safe ways of meeting face-to-face were found. The Society also delivered meals and support packages where needed.

Campaigning at national and local levels continued with some notable successes: - 130 councils agreed not to charge care leavers ( up to the age of 25 ) Council Tax - The School Uniform Bill became law. Schools must now prioritise cost when setting uniform policies - The Strengthening the Safetynet campaign helped secure over £200 million in government funding to enable councils to support families in crisis

2030 Vision The Society’s latest Good Childhood Report revealed that young people’s well-being has declined over the past 10 years. Well-being is defined as health, happiness and hope. The Society’s goal for 2030 is to reverse this decline and to create a country where ever young person has care, safety and the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Thanks Andrew Moran, Head of Supporter Relations has written to thank Christ Church for its annual mission donation. His closing words are: “ On behalf of everyone at the Children’s Society and the young people we work with thank you for helping to make children’s lives better.”

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