Children’s Society pulls out of Wales

A major UK children’s charity has been heavily
criticised over a decision to pull out of Wales.

The Children’s Society announced on Tuesday
that it is axing all its services in Wales, with 200 expected job
losses, because of a serious fall in the society’s income.

In the wake of the announcement, the
Archbishop of Wales, Rowan Williams, stated that he planned to step
down as the society’s vice-president, saying he was disappointed
and angry.

The charity is also facing cuts in services in
England, but these are not expected to be as sweeping as those in
Wales. The society currently runs 13 advocacy projects for children
in local authority care in Wales, something specifically asked for
in the Waterhouse inquiry into child abuse in North Wales.

Ian Sparks, chief executive of the Children’s
Society said it was with “great sadness and regret” that the
charity had been forced to closedown its work in Wales after 113

The society said that along with all other
charities, it is facing an uphill struggle to raise funds in the
current climate.

” This year we anticipate finishing the
financial year with a deficit of £4m. This figure follows
deficits over the last four years of £24m in total. As a
result we currently have £13m remaining in general reserves,
only enough to cover three and a half months’ operating costs. The
general view in the children’s charity sector is that reserves
should be sufficient to cover a minimum of six months, a view
shared by our auditors,” it said in a statement.

“In total, we need to make savings of
£6.4m. Unless we take action now to address the deficit, we
will not remain solvent as an organisation. We are making
significant cuts in England. Last year we closed nine projects and
this year we will close some 26 more.”

Sparks added: “We considered all other choices
to closing our work in Wales, but we were faced with no
alternatives. To continue working in Wales we would have had to
make even deeper cutsÉ we felt we’d only be operating a shadow
organisation and would be letting down Welsh children and young

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