Launch plan


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Launch plan

  1. 1. Launch & Business Plan Creating a new national support for children in separating families 1 March 2014 “The Law says that the welfare of the child is paramount, but in the real world of parental separation, children can often feel vulnerable and isolated.” Georgina Bacon, one of the Founding Partners “All children have the right to information from a variety of sources, especially to information aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral wellbeing and physical and mental health.” United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 17 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead Kids in the Middle Lulworth House, Monk Street Abergavenny NP7 5PN T: 07950 028704 E: W: Trustees: Peter Gavan (Chair), Ivar Grey FCA, Andy Taurins Kids in the Middle is a Registered Company, no. 8409605, and a Registered Charity, no. 1153731.
  2. 2. Contents Summary 3 1. The fundraising opportunity 4 2. The problem we are addressing 5 3. History, vision, aims 7 4. Other services in this field 9 5. Overview of plan 10 6. The website 11 7. Budget 12 8. Fundraising campaign 2014-2016 13 9. Management 17 10. SWOT 18 Business plan, March 2014 2 Registered charity no. 1153731
  3. 3. Summary 2014 is a watershed moment for children in separating families. It is the year when those working with separating families – who have long worried about the lack of support for the children in these families – can act collectively to create a new and permanent on-line service for these children, which they can recommend to all families with confidence. They will also obtain materials that help them to build connections with local schools, where teachers see the impact of family separation on children every day. 2013 saw the first lap of the race: 20 young people raised £15,000. Now family lawyers and mediators are working across the UK, many jointly with young people, to raise more funds for the new service. Some 250,000 children every year are affected by family separation. It is traumatic for every one of them and seriously damaging to some. It is universally accepted by professionals working with families that children do not receive enough support and their perspective is often poorly represented; but outside these circles there is a lack of conviction about whether or not these children are really a high-need group. There is disagreement about whether supporting these children is the responsibility of the state or charities, leading to the buck being passed. Three on-line support services for children in separating families have recently closed down. Support for these children always seems to get overlooked in the middle of the confusion and disagreement that exists between adults. A new generation of sophisticated and safe on-line supports for children and young people is emerging. We will work with the website,, which provides a comprehensive self-help, mentoring and counselling service on-line for children and young people. will back into this service, and be a shop-front where children, young people and parents can see and hear the story of separation from the perspective of young people who have been through it. Our key messages to children will be: it’s not your fault, you are not alone and it’s OK to seek help. Our key messages to parents will be to scale down the conflict and protect the family relationships on which the child’s happiness and wellbeing depends. The project has already won the enthusiastic support of Resolution, the association of family lawyers and mediators, of Cafcass and of Tam Baillie, the dynamic Children’s Commissioner in Scotland. 43 family law and mediation firms have already signed up as Founding Partners of Kids in the Middle to make sure the campaign is a success – they will all raise at least £2000. Hundreds of other family lawyers and mediators are considering joining them. In this document we set out the plan to launch a website during 2014,, for children in separating families and also for their parents, and to establish it as a permanent and sustainable service in future years. Business plan, March 2014 3 Registered charity no. 1153731
  4. 4. 1. The fundraising opportunity At first sight, the funding outlook appears bleak. We have had a weak economy for some years, there is no Government funding, children’s charities are focusing on poverty and charitable foundations are overstretched with applications, ambivalent about the issue of family separation and inexperienced in working with start-up projects! However, we can be optimistic.  We do not need a huge amount of money to address the problem we are addressing – we can be smart in how we configure the support and connect with a family of other new on-line supports for children and young people.  We have discovered niches of funding that are plenty big enough for our task….. o Family lawyers, mediators and other professionals working with separating families feel intensely the lack of support directly for children and want to help. Hundreds have already opened conversation with Kids in the Middle. 43 have so far agreed to be core supporters of Kids in the Middle, as Founding Partners. They are aiming to raise at least £2000 each during 2014. o Dynamic family law and mediation firms are adapting to the huge change in their market place – the withdrawal of legal aid for family separation cases and the transfer of support to mediation – with a new focus on marketing and communication and diversification of their services. Supporting Kids in the Middle is an excellent cause-related marketing opportunity for these firms, determined to ride the current wave of change. o Kids in the Middle is a perfect candidate for the Charity of the Year appeals of larger law firms. o Young people instantly understand the problem we are tackling and are willing to raise funds for it – 20 teenagers raised £15,000 in 2013. Many of the Founding Partners are working with young people. o Everybody knows a kid in the middle and how much it hurts to be in that place. Business plan, March 2014 4 Registered charity no. 1153731
  5. 5. 2. The problem we are addressing Some 400,000 children experience the separation of their parents every year in UK. For every one of them it is a traumatic experience. For some, particularly those exposed to high levels of conflict over a long period and those losing what was once a secure attachment, it can do permanent damage. Younger more dependent children typically regress into greater dependency and suffer anxiety about the new insecurity. Older children typically assert greater independence and can rebel. Many teachers observe a loss of concentration at school or a lapse into disruptive behaviour for all ages of children. In the personal history of a boy or girl, parental separation is a watershed event.1 The perspective of children in separating families is poorly represented. There are few services on offer that genuinely feed their views into the equation, with the attention all on the parents. Legal and court processes focus on dismantling arrangements, rather than on restoring lives. There is perpetual controversy over what actually is the best interest of the child. Children and young people have almost no voice in family separation. In the last three years, three on-line services for children in separating families have closed down, not through a lack of demand but through the particular ways in which they were configured: (an Action for Children website), a peer mentoring service (run by Cafcass) and an on-line counselling service (run by Relate). We have studied their experience and have formed our plans accordingly. Government-commissioned research published in 20012 showed that children want their parents to talk to them about the situation, but many parents do not. It is difficult for children to raise the subject with their parents and often they seek support from others. This research report concludes that the provision of information to children is a human rights issue and quotes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (as quoted on the cover of this document). The same research also showed that information for parents on the impact of separation on children had a considerable impact on the parents’ thoughts and actions. Information, however, should not be too prescriptive – it should simply portray the experience of particular children. When first thinking about Kids in the Middle, we carried out interviews with young people from the Cafcass Youth Board and with professionals working with separating families. It was immediately clear that there is not enough support for ‘kids in the middle’ and young people on the Cafcass board particularly 2 Walker J, Information Meetings and Associated Provisions within the Family Law Act 1996, 2001, p.559 1 Business plan, March 2014 5 Registered charity no. 1153731
  6. 6. recommended peer group support. Professionals do not have a place they can confidently refer children to. “I think that any service needs to be very accessible and that children are given the message that there is a service out there that they can use that is private and confidential. Children often feel under a lot of pressure and it is difficult for them to not take sides when their parents’ divorce.” CAFCASS worker surveyed in preparation for this project Strong support for the project has also been expressed by others: Resolution: “Projects like these are absolutely crucial to helping children deal with the emotional fall out of separation.” Anthony Douglas CBE, CEO of Cafcass: “Kids in the Middle is an inspired campaign to give children and young people an opportunity to communicate what they are going through.” Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner: “On many occasions the experiences, views and emotions of children whose parents are going through divorce or separation are forgotten about. Usually the focus is on the parents and too often the children and young people are overlooked. It’s time we were more conscious of children and young people’s perspective in this. For that reason I wholeheartedly support Kids in the Middle’s campaign to establish an online outlet where young people in separating families can share their stories. This is especially important at a time where funders are reducing resources for services that directly support children.” Business plan, March 2014 6 Registered charity no. 1153731
  7. 7. 3. History, vision, aims 3.1 History The idea of Kids in the Middle was born in 2004 when project initiator, Duncan Fisher, witnessed the separation of the parents of a 10-year-old girl in his children’s primary school. Not only did the girl not receive enough support, but the adults around the child were reluctant to step in for fear of getting between the warring parents. From this emerged the idea of a website for children and young people that provides ‘first aid’ support and advice, with some simple key messages – it’s not your fault, you are not alone, it is OK to get help – and then pointers to what to do next. The first manifestation of Kids in the Middle was a campaign backed by Agony Aunts in the national media and family and children’s charities. This ran between 2007 and 2010. The campaign for better support for children attracted considerable attention and was much favoured by Government – there were meetings with two Prime Ministers and many meetings with the Secretary of State for Education. Government gave £40m for additional counselling services in schools. But with the economic downturn and the change of Government, the funding model collapsed and the campaign ceased, before permanent change in the support for children had been achieved. Discussing Kids in the Middle with the Prime Minister (on the day the Lehmann Brothers bank collapsed). Duncan Fisher returned to the task two years later in 2012, focusing this time on the more precise aim of creating an on-line support for ‘kids in the middle’ and making it sustainable. During 2013 he tested the market for support in two ways. He worked with two schools and found that young people enthusiastically embrace the cause – 20 teenagers raised £15,000. He also discovered that there is a deep well of support for such a service for children among family lawyers and mediators who see the hurt of children at close quarters and are pained by the paucity of support directly for them. He consulted with young people from separated families through the Cafcass Youth Board and he assessed current on-line support for children and young people. He found the Beat Bullying Group. This organisation, having created the Business plan, March 2014 7 Registered charity no. 1153731
  8. 8. award winning website, went on to create other youth websites, and The website,, provides exactly the support service Kids in the Middle would like to provide (self-help, mentoring and counselling) and a partnership is now being developed. On-line support for young people is a new and growing sector and Kids in the Middle can be part of that exciting process, working with the front-runners. Duncan has systematically appealed to family lawyers and mediators to seek their support for the campaign. Hundreds of lawyers and mediators are interested. 43 firms have so far signed up as “Founding Partners” of Kids in the Middle, each ready to raise at least £2000 for the website, assist in its design and promote it nationally. The Founding Partners have been meeting and this plan is based on their discussions about fundraising. All this work demonstrates both the need and the viability of a new on-line support for children and young people in separating families. A good fundraising campaign is the next step. 3.2 The vision We want to see three things:  More support directly for children and young people in separating families.  Less conflict between parents meted out through their children.  Fewer positive family relationships for children severed through family separation. 3.3 Aims We will do four things to bring about our vision. 1. Build a website where children and young people can see and hear the experiences of young people who have been through family separation and where they can access discussion with peers, peer mentoring and counselling (in an extremely safe environment). 2. Include a section on the website for separating parents where children and young people can present their perspective to them. This part of the website will point parents to where they can get help to reach a resolution that really works in the best interests of the children. 3. Create materials that local organisations can use to build connections with schools and link schools to local support for children in separating families. 4. Organise a voice for children and young people in the debate about family separation and the child’s best interest. Business plan, March 2014 8 Registered charity no. 1153731
  9. 9. 4. Other services in the field With the demise of three on-line support services for children in separating families, the field is fairly clear of ‘competition’! There are, however, services for children in separating families in certain places. Childline is well able to support children who phone up for adult advice (and we will actively promote it, particularly to younger children). Some local mediation firms provide direct support for children. There are peer support websites where children in separating families could go, such as YouthNet. There are some good existing videos of children talking about separation and divorce, but they are scattered and not well optimised for on-line searching. The website that most closely provides the services we need, but without the branding and marketing we need, is – self-help, peer mentoring and counselling in an extremely safe environment. Kids in the Middle will back into and will help to host additional services needed by our target group – specialist counsellors, on-line discussions, peer mentors who have experienced the separation of their parents. (See section 6.) We will promote existing services that are relevant to our target group, bringing them all together into one place under a strong and well-promoted brand and strong search engine optimisation. Services will be presented and described by young people through videos and children and young people will take their pick of the available support. There is a website for teenagers in separating families in Ireland, and a website for younger children in US,, but nothing currently in UK. These sites do not have anything like the sophistication of service that is provided by Business plan, March 2014 9 Registered charity no. 1153731
  10. 10. 5. Overview of plan Fundraising Delivery 2013 Young people raised £15,000 ( 2014 Family law and mediation firms become Founding Partners – run local cause related marketing and fundraising campaigns. (43 Partners so far; target is 75.) Produce materials for family lawyers, mediators and others to run groups and assemblies in schools. National fundraising events that Founding Partners can join in. Launch first version of website at uk, backing into the support services supplied by See section 6. National appeal to all family lawyers and mediators who are not Founding Partners to back the campaign with a donation of £50-£100. Approach large law firms to make Kids in the Middle their Charity of the Year. 2015 2016 As above. We will organise other fundraising events, including one specifically for young people in the summer, a desert trek with Junglemoon. Further develop video content and the support services delivered with Branding, marketing, SEO. Contribution of young people to debate about separating families and the “best interests of the child”. Meetings in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast. Business plan, March 2014 10 Registered charity no. 1153731
  11. 11. 6. The website will present content created by children and young people who have experienced family separation, mainly in the form of videos. It will have the following functions:  For children and young people experiencing family separation o Key messages: it’s not your fault, you’re not alone, it’s OK to get help. o Backing into peer discussion, peer mentoring and counselling services available through (see below). o Signposting to further support – on-line/off-line, national/local.  For separating parents o See the situation from the child’s perspective. o Adopt low conflict approaches to restoring a different parenting arrangement (and here’s where you can get help to do this).  For professionals and politicians o What the best interest of children is in the view of the children themselves. This is a necessary contribution to our understanding. It will be well-branded and well search-optimised so that it reaches 85% of all children and young people experiencing family separation each year (200,000 unique young visitors/year), along with their parents. Everything will be available on a mobile interface, appearing as an App, and via a confidential portal on Facebook. Peer discussion, peer mentoring and counselling For those young people wanting to go further than just being informed, the site will offer peer discussion, peer mentoring and counselling - to do this, will back into leads the world in providing on-line support to children and young people; it provides a very safe environment and the services are designed in a youth-friendly way, for example, with a lot of choice and flexibility. Additional Kids in the Middle branded services will be placed within the space - discussions about separation, mentors able to focus on the issue of separation, counselling by specialists in family separation. Users won't feel they are moving to a different place when they enter KidsintheMiddle will be present there. can provide peer discussion and peer mentoring services for free for Kids in the Middle. Counselling costs money. Young people can access counselling in two ways. They can buy it or they can have a voucher code that they get from someone who has pre-paid for the counselling service. Fundraising for Kids in the Middle at the local level will be partly to fund the national service and partly to buy counselling vouchers for local children. Business plan, March 2014 11 Registered charity no. 1153731
  12. 12. 7. Budget 7.1 2014-2016 2014 150,000 Net income for costs of next year 150,000 49,000 199,000 150,000 71,000 221,000 50,000 50,000 50,000 10,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 0 0 0 3,000 33,000 0 101,000 3,000 5,000 35,000 30,000 128,000 3,000 0 37,000 32,000 127,000 49,000 Costs: Web development, branding, SEO, marketing Video material of children and young people Materials for lawyers/mediators in schools Travel costs for young people to meetings Fundraising advice Management costs Running website Total 2016 150,000 Income: Target from fund raising Brought forward Total 2015 71,000 94,000 7.2 2017 onwards We will enter 2017 with a cushion of £94,000 raised in the previous period. This will fund the transition to a different kind of revenue generation. We are exploring the following revenue sources:  Continued fundraising campaigns with a stronger local flavour to raise money for vouchers for local children and young people to access counselling.  Continued membership of law and mediation firms with a package of benefits.  Advertising of mediation, collaborative law and other such services on the website.  Appeals and foundation applications for particular investments. Business plan, March 2014 12 Registered charity no. 1153731
  13. 13. 8. Fundraising campaign 2014-2016 8.1 Overview The campaign has three parts: 1. Founding Partners – family law and mediation firms – raising at least £2,000 each through organizing local fundraising events or participating in national ones organized by Kids in the Middle. Partners will also run local media campaigns that raise their profile. So far we have 43 Founding Partners and the target for 2014 is 75. 2. An appeal to all family lawyers and mediators who are not employed by firms who are Founding Partners to make a donation of £50-£100 each. (There are about 5,000 of them on our database.) 3. A request for larger donations from the larger law firms. We will ask them to make Kids in the Middle their Charity of the Year. (Recent Charity of the Year projects with large law firms have raised about £30,000 each for other charities.) The overall target is £150,000/year for three years, which allows the launch of the website, significant development and strong branding and marketing work, including search engine optimization. If we raise more, we will invest in the future development of the service, with the focus on sustainability rather than just building a bigger operation. 8.2 Founding Partners Benefits: The benefits to Founding Partners are:  Being seen to lead the way in creating new support for children and young people in separating families, whose interests are considered to be paramount but who constantly tend to be overlooked.  A great brand association to raise local profile. Approaches by firms to local BBC radio stations to talk about Kids in the Middle so far have had a 100% success rate.  Sharing of marketing ideas among the partners at a time of massive changes in the marketplace and a need for new approaches.  Materials to help Partners forge relationships with schools – materials for assembly presentations and classroom groups on the subject. These will be designed to provide useful help to schools and Partners will be able to over-brand the materials.  Partners will be able to participate in the design of the new on-line service. Business plan, March 2014 13 Registered charity no. 1153731
  14. 14.  The status of Founding Partner is permanent and will be recognised on the website for as long as the site runs. Targets: 43 law and mediation firms have so far joined up as Founding Partners and our target is 75. The target is for each Founding Partner to raise at least £2,000 for Kids in the Middle during 2014. Three-years: We will invite all Founding Partners to continue their association through 2015 and 2016, raising £2,000 also in each of those years. This longerterm approach allows firms to build up their local marketing better than a oneyear initiative could do. Fund-raising tactics: We will provide advice to local firms on fundraising tactics. Fundraising events: Some firms are organising local fundraising events or participating in local fundraising events (half marathons, very muddy activities, etc.) In addition, Kids in the Middle will organise a calendar of national events in which family lawyers and mediators and young people can participate, all designed to make raising £2,000 easy and fun. A centrepiece will be a 3 Peaks UK Challenge event (in three separate days to enable participation by children). This was the idea of Bethan, aged 11, who will lead the challenge in July. Business plan, March 2014 14 Registered charity no. 1153731
  15. 15. Date (2014 dates. 2015 dates tbc.) Event Entry fee Cost of travel & accomm (covered from sponsorship raised or by firm/participant in advance) Minimum sum required by Skyline as donation to KITM Any weekend Skydive (at airfields around the country) £70 £185 £140 19 -23 July Kids in the Middle Three Peaks £99 Challenge in Three Days (event for adults and children) London-Paris bike ride £99 n/a – people make own arrangements n/a £725 £725 London-Brighton bike ride Petra Trek, Jordan Desert Trek, India £50 £1050 ??? £50 £1050 ??? 18-22 June 9-13 July 13-17 Aug 3-7 Sept (4 possible dates) 14 Sept 8-12 Oct Dec (dates tbc) Business plan, March 2014 £35 £199 ??? 15 Registered charity no. 1153731
  16. 16. 8.3 National appeal to family lawyers and mediators We will appeal to every family lawyer and mediator in the UK whose firm is not a Founding Partner to make a one-time donation £50-£100 to one campaign by a child. We have a database of over 5,000 lawyers and mediators with whom we are already in contact. 8.4 Large law firms We will approach the five largest law firms to make bigger donations to the campaign. We will ask them to make Kids in the Middle their charity of the year in 2014, 2015 or 2016. Business plan, March 2014 16 Registered charity no. 1153731
  17. 17. 9. Management The current Trustees of the charity are:  Peter Gavan MA (Oxon), FRSA , MCIJ. Managing Partner of Strategic Judgement, a business and communication consultancy. Former director for Corporate Affairs of three FTSE 100 companies - National Grid Group, Invensys, Severn Trent. Former director for Corporate Affairs, Viridian Group, Total (UK). Former director, Burson Marsteller, issue and crisis management consultancy. Former lobby correspondent and political leader writer, Evening Standard. Former public member Network Rail, former advisory director Relate, former chairman Oxford Cyrenians. Currently Pastoral Committee member, Stratford-upon-Avon School.  Ivar Grey FCA. Having retired from KPMG, Ivar has worked substantially in the public and voluntary sector, particularly in Cardiff where he lives. He is a member of the Competition Commission, a non-executive Director of Finance Wales PLC (and chair of the audit committee), a non-executive director of the Cardiff & Vale Local Health Board (and chair of the audit committee), a Trustee and Governor of Port Regis School. He has also been Chair of the Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, member of the Welsh Communities Investment Fund and financial advisor to Prince’s Trust Cymru.  Andy Taurins. A professionally qualified civil engineer (Imperial College) who, over the last three decades, has founded and/or Chaired a large number of private sector companies ranging from mineral water production and distribution, publishing, electronics, training and development etc. Currently he chairs two specialist electronics companies in the west Midlands, a building company and a property development company both in south Wales, and is Chief Executive of management consultancy firm Taurins, Taylor Associates which he has led since 1977. He is, amongst others, a Fellow of the Institute of Consulting, a Fellow of the Institute of Welsh Affairs and Latvian Honorary Consult to Wales. The Project Director is Duncan Fisher OBE. Duncan is a social entrepreneur who conceived of Kids in the Middle. Duncan has a long track record in developing new organisations, for example, the Fatherhood Institute and The Travel Foundation. (See Family lawyers and mediators who are Founding Partners are advising on all aspects of the project through meetings and on-line conversation. A professional fundraising advisor, Sarah Eite, has been consulted about the design of the fundraising campaign. Business plan, March 2014 17 Registered charity no. 1153731
  18. 18. 10. SWOT Strengths Support base among family lawyers and mediators Ability to engage young people Weaknesses Vulnerability of a start-up Response: Good leadership, good management, good strategy Opportunities Change in marketplace driving some law and mediation firms to more outreach Success of Beatbullying in pioneering new on-line youth services Threats Income too slow so sustain enthusiasm and momentum Response: Mobilise intensively with Founding Partners. Business plan, March 2014 18 Registered charity no. 1153731