BBC Children in Need and philanthropy, The Hunter Foundation (“THF”) have committed £2m for investment in supporting the Scottish Care Review’s Promise across Tayside and East Ayrshire.

The funding will be released in partnership with each of the local authorities and will build on work already undertaken with Dundee City Council and East Ayrshire Council on ‘What Matters to You’ where families and young people determine their needs and the system offers that support in response.  Part of this funding commitment will enable the What Matters to You project to continue delivering for the next three years and have a greater impact on the children and families that it supports.

The work will seek to unlock the leadership potential of the system creating the right conditions for change, whilst working from the ground up with children and families to bring their voice to the very heart of service reform. 

These funds are only a small element of the funding both entities already invest in supporting young people and families struggling to survive.

Commenting Sir Tom Hunter, founder of THF noted;

“We want to play our part in turning the ambition for Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up in, into the reality that it is. The Care Review and subsequent Promise is not the vision of a Committee its the reality of 5500 voices half of whom are care experienced, we owe it to them that their voice is heard, enabled and delivered upon.

“Whilst this is a relatively small commitment it builds on our existing investments in this area and we hope to make further substantive commitments going forward. Scotland spends an inordinate sum on this system; that shows we care but it also shows we need to change as the outcomes are still far from acceptable for those young people touched by the very system that should be supporting them.” 

Simon Antrobus, chief executive of BBC Children in Need added;

“We are delighted to be supporting this crucial work, in partnership with The Hunter Foundation. This £2m commitment will enable us to continue the work we have already started in Scotland, by listening to the voices of children and families and helping them flourish with their communities. 

Fiona Duncan, chair of the Care Review and the Promise commented;

 “I am delighted at this news, and so pleased to see funders investing in the work of change required to implement the conclusions of the Care Review.  With their support, more initiatives to support children and families will happen and flourish across Scotland. We will only #KeepThePromise made to children and families by working together across organisations, sectors, geography and beyond. The care community demanded change – we all have a role to play to deliver it”.

Dundee City Council children and families services convener Councillor Stewart Hunter said:  “We are committed to having the voices of children and families at the centre of our work to support them.  

“Dundee City Council is grateful for this funding to continue the crucial work of the ‘What Matters to You’ project.  

“Following the report of the independent review, we have recently launched Our Promise to Care Experienced Children and Young People to help improve our services for the future.”   

Eddie Fraser, Chief Executive of East Ayrshire Council, explains how communities in East Ayrshire have benefited from the What Matters to You initiative.

He said: “What Matters to You provides valuable support for vulnerable young people and their families, with a particular focus on families with children at the edges of care, to help develop positive outcomes for those most impacted by negative underlying circumstances.

“As an organisation, and through our partnership arrangements, we are committed to improving the wellbeing and life chances of children and young people growing up in East Ayrshire, and with the support of the Hunter Foundation and BBC Children in Need we have created an innovative model to take this forward.

“Our initial focus has been in the Cumnock and Auchinleck area, linked specifically to the new Barony Campus which opened in August last year.  Since then, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the WM2U team has been working with families, practitioners and local voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver support and build relationships and networks to create an environment whereby people feel confident and comfortable participating alongside others.

 “We’ve also been working with locally-based social enterprise Columba 1400 in helping to facilitate and support the conversations taking place. Columba 1400 works with people who play a key role in the lives of young people, including teachers, head teachers, social workers, parents and carers and they help parents to make connections with other parents and to lead and influence change.

 “We are delighted that this initiative has been extended further as this will allow us to build on the good work that has taken place over the last six months, enabling us to consider expanding this model into other communities.”

Both BBC Children in Need and THF will each commit £1m in the investment, with funding from THF coming from a donation pledged to BBC Children in Need in 2020. 

The funding will be delivered against need and aimed at systemic change.