Staff vow to carry on services after Children’s Society pulls out of Wales

Children’s Society staff in Wales want to
create a new charity following the announcement that the
organisation will pull out of the region by next summer (News, page
8, 15 November).

They announced their intention after a
five-hour meeting last week in Llandrindod Wells, Powys.

Staff claim that vital work with children is
in jeopardy and they fear that redundancy notices could be served
as soon as January as many project contracts are due to end in

“Staff have unanimously decided to fight to
preserve the work of the Children’s Society Cymru as a whole,”
said Maria Battle, policy officer of the society in Wales.

“We do not want individual services or
projects to be cherry-picked off from the group as we believe in
the foundation of an independent social justice organisation in
partnership with the Church in Wales.”

The staff’s decision to try to continue with
their work is likely to be boosted by the announcement from the
Archbishop of the Church in Wales, the most Reverend Rowan Williams
-Êwho has resigned from his post as vice-president of the
Society -Êto set up a fund to ensure money raised for children
in Wales stays in Wales. Rowan said that the fund was a temporary
measure until more permanent arrangements were put in place.

The staff claim that the cost of the
Children’s Society’s closure programme will be at least £1.3m
and they are asking for that sum to be made available so they can
continue their work.

Meanwhile, Welsh assembly minister Jane Hutt,
who has responsibility for social services, has set up a task force
to look at ways to try to salvage the work carried out by the
society, and which will report back in the new year.

The chairperson of the new task force will be
Christine Walby, a trustee of Children in Wales and a research
fellow of University of Wales, Swansea.

Hutt told the assembly that many people in
Wales have cause to feel let down by the society’s decision to pull
out. “The decision was disgraceful and we will not take it lying
down,” she said.

Ian Sparks, chief executive of the Children’s
Society, said: “We are working with the task force to find ways of
ensuring services can continue. We are keen to ensure the
transition is well managed.”

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