Thursday, 30 December 2010


First a huge THANK YOU to all the people who gave Christmas gifts for children during our annual 'Giving Tree' appeal, and to the businesses who helped to advertise, support and to collect gifts. Last year over 6,000 gifts were donated and this year looks to have exceeded that record. This really makes an enormous difference to children and families in need at this time of year. It tells them despite all the difficulties that life can bring, people really do care about the worst off in our society. It is the 'Big Society' in action, in the same way as it always has done.

Children North East ends the year in a very different place to its start. There has been a change of government, the emergency budget and the Comprehensive Spending Review. We all know about cuts in public spending but none of us yet knows quite what that will mean for our service users or our services.

We recognised early what the scale of the financial problem might be and got to work quickly and enthusiastically. It was important first to revisit our objectives and restate our commitment to children, children and young people's rights and to countering the effects of inequality on them, their families and communities. This gave us a firm basis from which to think clearly about the services we can offer and freed us from thinking that the only ways to finance our work were through contracts or grants to run whole projects. We are beginning to see that local authortities, schools and eventually GPs are prepared to purchase individual pieces of work from us.

During the last few months we have made many applications to Big Lottery and charitable foundations for funding for projects as well as continuing to talk to local authorities and PCTs about next year’s grants and contracts; and we have joined with other organisations to make applications for Big Lottery grants and to collaborate on other projects.

I think we have made a tremendous start to respond and adapt to the new funding environment; and I am optimistic that Children North East will cope well next year when some of our services will change from 'being funded' to 'being bought'. However there is still lots more to do and several months more uncertainty before we will know what size of organisation we will be in 2011-2012.

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