Action to reduce and lessen the effects of family poverty on children’s life chances in leicester


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This report outlines how the Leicester City VCS has improved the lives of children living in poverty. Learn more:

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Action to reduce and lessen the effects of family poverty on children’s life chances in leicester

  1. 1. Leicester City Children’s Trust Board Briefing Action to Reduce and Lessen the Effects of Family Poverty on Children’s Life Chances in Leicester Author: Tricia Reynolds - Policy Officer Voluntary Action LeicesterShire Policy  &  Partnerships       Informing  and  influencing  policy  for  the  sector    
  2. 2.   2   Aim The aim of this report is to give the Leicester City Children’s Trust Board an update and insight into key achievements by the local Voluntary and Community Sector and Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, to lesson the impacts of Child and Family Poverty across Leicester City, over the last year. Summary • The value of volunteering activity in the City is estimated at £65 million per year • The income to VCS groups in the City who work with Children and Young people has dropped by 12% between 2011 and 2013 (latest figures) • Collaborative work between VAL, Leicester City Council Benefits and Revenues team and VCS providers has produced a citywide strategy and a mapping exercise on Leicester’s Foodbank provision. • A second annual Child Poverty Conference successfully facilitated by VAL and the City Council. • VAL brought together Schools and VCS groups in February 2014 to identify gaps in provision for children and young people and promote the range of services the local VCS can provide. Introduction Whether statutory, voluntary or private sector, it is everyone’s business to ensure that children and young people have equal opportunities in, education, health, social well being and emotional well being through services that work in a strong collaborative partnership. Collaborative thinking, planning, and implementing the services that reaches the most disadvantaged, has the biggest impact on children’s lives. This is paramount to bringing children, young people and families on a pathway out of poverty and ensuring the best life chances for our children, young people and families today and our future generation. The impact of government funding cuts to local authorities across the country, new benefit structures and the rising cost of living are having a significant impact on the lives of families. There is a rise in people accessing foodbanks regionally and nationally and in Leicester a significant rise in new foodbanks being set up to meet demand. These are not only being accessed by people on benefits, but by people where one or more people are employed in a family unit. The rise in every day living expenses is far exceeding the rise in the living wage. A basket of staple food items costs 17% more now than a year ago. (Fareshare There is a wide range of voluntary sector organisations that work towards lessening the impacts of poverty as well as providing a whole family approach with specialist services.
  3. 3.   3   The Voluntary and Community Sector In Leicester City The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) in Leicester City provide services that help a wide range of people; a large cohort of these VCS groups specifically target children, young people and families. VCS groups provide a variety of services that have high impacts on reducing family poverty either directly or indirectly from whole family support, to individuals. Organisations like ADHD Solutions, works with children, young people and their families, provide support to parents and children and training in schools, such as teaching and instruction techniques, as well as coaching for teachers and learning support assistants other VCS and statutory organisations. Key Statistics about the local VCS  The value of volunteering activity in the City is estimated at £65 million per year, at the average wage.  The main specific beneficiary groups of Leicester City charities were children and young people and Black and Minority Ethnic communities. However, a far larger number of charities declared their beneficiaries were ‘the general public’.1  The main services provided by VCS groups in the City were Health and Wellbeing, Education and Life-long Learning, and Leisure services.2                                                                                                                 1 From 915 1141 City Groups on VAL’s database 2 From 919 of 1141 City Groups on VAL’s database Charity Link is just one example   Leicester Charity Link provides everyday items that the majority take for granted, such as a bed to sleep in, a cooker to prepare a hot meal and, in emergencies, food. These items cost very little, but they can make a massive difference to people’s lives.  Supporting Children and Young People  Older People living in poverty  Disabled people  People living with mental health problems  Carers  People facing homelessness Leicester Charity Link are currently piloting a five days a week foodbank in partnership with Leicester City Council, St Martins House, Fareshare and Tomorrow Together to address the issue of food poverty. From June 2013 to May 2014 6,000 bags have been distributed. Leicester Charity Link, CEO, Jim Munton confirmed that the organisation spent £780,508 in Leicester of which £435,278 was Community Support Grants and helped 1595 children, young people between 2013 and 2014.  
  4. 4.   4    VCS groups have developed more diverse sources of income in the past year, with a larger number of groups gaining income through trading, donations, private trust and lottery funding. 3 In light of the diverse range of VCS groups delivering services for children, young people, cares and for people with a financial need, including poverty, the graph below gives a summary of those organisations across Leicester City that are delivering these types of services (according to VAL’s database) The Charity Commission holds information about a range of voluntary and community sector organisations; particularly interesting is the submission of annual accounts, by a range of organisations where their main beneficiary is children or young people. In Leicester according, to the Charity Commission, there are a variety of organisations that submitted annual accounts between 2007 and 2013. The information below is a culmination of the children and young people charities where the main beneficiary is children or young people or children and young people. Included in the data are a number of National charities and at least two, Community Interest Companies (CIC).                                                                                                                 3 From 183 City Groups on VAL’s database   0   10   20   30   40   50   60   70   80   90   Children  0  -­‐   13  yrs   Young  People     Carers   People  with   Financial  need   Incl  Poverty   VCS  Providers   The Value of Children, Young People VCS Organisations in Leicester City (Registered Charities)
  5. 5.   5   The chart highlights the level of funding these organisations have brought in from 2007 to 2013 according to their submissions of annual accounts to the charity commission. There has been a significant growth in the number of VCS organisations that deliver services to children and young people across Leicester and are registered with the Charity Commission. The levels of funding brought in by the VCS peaked in 2011 with a combined income of £11,439.585 according to accounts submitted to the Charity Commission, but since then has taken a slight downward trend. (12% drop since 2011) Whilst CYP charities have experienced significant funding cuts to their services, the picture overall, for CYP charities, broadly looks in line with the overall state of the VCS in Leicester City. Volunteering to Lessen the Effects of Poverty We all know that just because volunteer work is unpaid does not mean the skills learnt are basic. Many volunteering opportunities provide extensive training. For example, volunteers could become an experienced crisis counsellor while volunteering for a women’s shelter. Volunteering is a way for people to gain social skills, as well as building up their confidence, self-esteem and getting a foot on the pathway to employment.  VAL estimates there are 6,416,748 hours of volunteering being provided in Leicester City each year £0.00 £2,000,000.00 £4,000,000.00 £6,000,000.00 £8,000,000.00 £10,000,000.00 £12,000,000.00 £14,000,000.00 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Income to VCS Children & Young People's Organisations in Leicester City (Registered Charities)
  6. 6.   6    On VAL’s database, 602 VCS groups located in Leicester City have reported that they regularly engage with volunteers. A total of 441365 volunteer hours have been offered; this is an average of 733 volunteer hours per VCS group. Additionally over fifty thousand hours of volunteering per year are logged for organisations who are not in the voluntary and community sector, in particular statutory and private organisations. (VAL State of the Sector Report 2014) Volunteering opportunities can be wide ranging, below are a few examples of some of the volunteering opportunities that really make an impact on families lives.  Family support volunteers – Caudwell Children – To visit families who care for a disabled child.  Homestart visiting volunteer – Homestart UK – Visiting families in their own home to offer support friendship and practical assistance.  Volunteer – ADHD Solutions – Providing a positive role model for clients of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Children’s Holiday Helpers – CHICKs, Country Holidays for Inner City Kids – National Charity providing respite breaks for disadvantaged children 8 – 15 yrs. Voluntary Action LeicesterShire Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) provides a range of services to support the voluntary sector in Leicester and Leicestershire as an infrastructure organisation, including Group Support, Policy and Volunteering, as well as delivering these funded projects:  The Choice Advice Service (helping parents choose schools)  Parent Partnership Service (support and information for parents of children with Special Educational Needs)  SEND (special Education Needs and Disabilities - Local Offer for Leicester City)  Children’s Workforce Development & Safeguarding Training Volunteering as a Springboard to Greater Employability Ayesha Butt, aged 15-18, used VAL’s volunteering service to volunteer to enhance her employment prospects. After looking at various options she went with two contrasting ones and is happily volunteering for Citizen's Advice Bureau and in the British Heart Foundation shop. She said, " I am really enjoying volunteering. Both of these roles are giving me the skills and experience in customer service and retail that I am after. I'm hoping to build on these to look for employment or apprenticeships in the future.”   Volunteer wins an Award Erica, who is from New Parks, has been involved with Soft Touch Arts for three years. She has put in over 200 hours of volunteering and her hard work, enthusiasm and commitment was rewarded when she won the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire’s Young Volunteer of the Year Award on 8 April 2014.  
  7. 7.   7    Values Project (volunteering and support for people with a Learning Disability)  Healthwatch Leicester Voluntary Action whole-heartedly supports the work of the Child Poverty Commission and Kevan Liles (VAL CEO) represents the local voluntary sector on the commission. VCS input to the Leicester City Child Poverty Commission The Child Poverty Commission was set up in June 2011 following the election of Leicester’s City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby. The Child Poverty Commission set out 66 recommendations in their report. Highlighted below are some of the contributions that the VCS and VAL have contributed over the last year to supporting the delivery of the recommendations. 4. Annual Guidance for the use of the Pupil Premium in schools VAL provided an opportunity for schools and the VCS to come together at an event in February 2014. This event highlighted the need to promote the VCS provision to enable schools to be able access providers. VCS providers deliver a range of services that have impact on children’s health & wellbeing, attainment and raise social independence. 18. A Citywide approach to Food Banks. Collaborative work between VAL, Leicester City Council Benefits and Revenues team and VCS providers, included a series of strategic meetings over 6 months to inform a citywide The Values Project   The Values Project, based at VAL, is a project that makes it easy for people with learning disabilities in Leicester to volunteer, find work and have fun. Between April 2013 and March 2014, 51 people with learning disabilities contributed to a total of 11,655 of volunteering hours in 17 different charities and public services through the Values Project.   The Workforce Development Project (CWD), based at VAL, was established to develop and improve the engagement of the Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sectors in local strategic workforce development and integrated working. The overarching aim of the work is to input into the development of the local children’s workforce strategy both by informing the strategy and ensuring the needs of the PVI workforce are embedded within its development. The recent workforce Data Profile questionnaire included questions to establish the nature of the work that organsiations undertake towards the reduction in child poverty together with a range of other key areas of interest. The analysis from the PVI Workforce Data Profile, specifically in relation to the reduction of child poverty, produced some interesting, insightful and pertinent findings. (Full details can be found in Appendix 1)  
  8. 8.   8   strategy and a mapping exercise to examine the whereabouts of foodbanks. The mapping exercise also identified gaps in provision. 31. A supervised Place to Play VAL are currently working with Children’s Services to support two pre procurement events to commission citywide supervised play provision. Outdoor play is beneficial to children and young people to developing social skills and emotional wellbeing.  Promotion to children & Young People VCS providers  Promoting the VAL Group Support offer at the events  Supporting the Councils Officers with Policy support 59. Partnership Annual Event VAL are looking forward to working with the Child Poverty Commission to develop and organise the next annual conference for local voluntary and community sector organisations. Conclusion This briefing report highlights the key successes of all partners working together to lessen the impacts of Child and Family Poverty in Leicester City. The roles of all sectors working in collaboration, targeting resources where it is most needed and keeping the momentum going forward will undoubtedly continue to make an impact and meet the priority in the Leicester Children’s Trust Board plan. Moving forward  Organisations need to continue to be kept up to date with information relating to child poverty and the ways in which the work they currently do and future work has an impact on reducing child poverty.  It might be useful to integrate training, related to Child Poverty, into existing training provision delivered in partnership with The Local Children’s Safeguarding Board.  Continued data collection is imperative, both regarding the work that organisations are doing to reduce child poverty, but also the effectiveness of the measures utilised to keep organisations abreast of information.  The Children’s Trust Board continue to integrate and sustain the culture of collaborative working, transparency and open dialogue across all sectors to ensure positive impacts on lessening the effects of child and family poverty.  Continue as a collective group to influence and challenge if necessary the Child Poverty Commission to work to secure resources for children, young people and families in Leicester City.  Encourage the Child Poverty Commission to disseminate information and successes of the commissions work through the LCTB. Invite the chair of the Child Poverty Commission to present at the LCTB to receive regular updates.
  9. 9.   9    Continue to fund data collection of the workforce that enables the child poverty commission to measure the impact of the voluntary, statutory and private sectors. Tricia Reynolds Policy Officer – Children, Young People and Families Voluntary Action LeicesterShire