Central funding key to CareZone clone

A secure website for looked-after children, which is to close next month due to a lack of investment, could be set up again but only with a different funding model, according to the charity behind the venture.

CareZone was set up in December 2004 by The Who Cares? Trust, using £1.36m of grants and loans from Futurebuilders England, the government-backed fund for the voluntary sector.

It hoped to pay back the loan using funds raised from councils buying the CareZone service, but not enough have done so.

Susanna Cheal, chief executive of The Who Cares? Trust, said: “It is possible that a similar secure network could be set up again but it would need a central fund rather than the uncertainty of negotiating separately with individual local authorities, each of which has its own circumstances.”

Before the charity announced in late July that the website would close, eight authorities were negotiating renewal of the service, six more wanted to buy it if they could find the money in their budgets, and six were at the early interest stage. But some had been unable to renew and prospects were taking longer than expected to make a decision.

Cheal said the charity had expected a “steady climb” towards 50 authorities using the service consistently to guarantee sustainability.

Further information
The Who Cares? Trust

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