Action to reduce and lessen the effects of family poverty on children’s life chances in leicester
Leicester City Children’s Trust
Action to Reduce and Lessen
the Effects of Family Poverty
on Children’s Life Chances in
Author: Tricia Reynolds - Policy Officer
Voluntary Action LeicesterShire
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.
• 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
• 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.
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.
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
From 915 1141 City Groups on VAL’s database
From 919 of 1141 City Groups on VAL’s database
Link is just
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
People living with mental health problems
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
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.
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).
From 183 City Groups on VAL’s database
The Value of Children, Young People VCS Organisations in Leicester
City (Registered Charities)
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
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
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Income to VCS Children & Young People's Organisations in
Leicester City (Registered Charities)
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
(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
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
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.
Values Project (volunteering and support for people with a Learning Disability)
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)
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
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.
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.
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.
Policy Officer – Children, Young People and Families
Voluntary Action LeicesterShire