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The Children’s Trust invests in its future



The Children's Trust supports young people living with brain injuries

A charity which supports children with brain injuries and their families is investing in the future of its operation by introducing new facilities and services, alongside expanding its community offering into new areas of the country.

The Children’s Trust has revealed plans to create a state-of-the-art centre of excellence on its site in Tadworth, Surrey, replacing its current school, which will help support the education, health, care and therapy needs of each young person who needs its services.

As part of its five-year strategy, the charity is also aiming to introduce five new services by 2024, the first of which will be its use of robotics and digital transformation.

Additionally, The Children’s Trust will expand its brain injury community services beyond its current five areas – Tadworth, St George’s in Tooting, Sheffield, Leeds and Nottingham – to add three more locations across the country.

It is also looking to create a national school information service, to support schools in their knowledge of, and ability to support children with, brain injury.

The expansion comes as the charity continues to commit to investing in its ability to support children and young people with brain injuries, despite the ongoing economic turbulence and significant drop in fundraising.

Chief executive Dalton Leong revealed that while a decrease in fundraising of up to £1.3 million was feared for the financial year, the reality will be around half of that, but nevertheless will leave the charity at least £650,000 down against its annual target to sustain its services.

And with new expenses including £165,000 on PPE in eleven months, the charity remains in need of financial support to help it continue with its plans.

“We know how difficult it is out there and I believe the charity sector has a huge part to play in society recovering from this pandemic,” he tells NR Times.

“If anything, my view on this has become amplified as time has progressed, with the work of ourselves and charities like ours helping to take immense pressure off the NHS frontline and make beds available at times of great need.

“We are all in this global pandemic together – charity, NHS, healthcare – and we all have a vital role to play. And we see our role in that as remaining positive and getting our strategy back on track and looking to the future and how we can do even more to support those who need it.”

The Children’s Trust’s five-year strategy, launched just prior to the onset of the pandemic in the UK last year, pioneered its vision for the future of its services. While much in the world has changed since then, Dalton is keen to keep to the plan as much as possible.

“It was all a bit uncertain at first, but eleven months on we are proactively planning for the next four years,” he says.

“We’ve been doing a lot of things in the background – the day to day priority has been keeping our children safe from COVID, but behind the scenes we’ve been looking at getting back on track for the future.

“But while we have these ambitions, and I’m confident we will achieve them, we will go at the pace which is right for our staff, volunteers and our young people. We need to make sure our people are with us.

“The effect the pandemic has had on them and their mental health is something we are very aware of, and looking after them will be the priority.”

Alongside its robotics and digitalisation plans are four other areas of development, which are still in the ‘ideas’ stage, with staff having the opportunity to pitch ideas to the charity’s Innovation Programme Board, chaired by Dalton.

“We have a number of ideas, but there are quite a few stages before they get to business plan stage. Robotics has gone to business plan, but we’re looking at a wider area than that going forward,” says Dalton.

“Digitalisation doesn’t stop at robotics and that has been very important during the pandemic. We’ve been doing needs assessments virtually, so speaking to doctors, nurses and families wherever they are in the country.

“Imagine doing that in a post-COVID world. It will save so much time and will make sure we can react even more quickly.”

Going forward, The Children’s Trust has much to be positive about with such future plans and ambition, although Dalton maintains some caution.

“We are trying to be positive but also realistic,” he says.

“We have lost a significant amount of fundraising, which has been very difficult, but we still have to offer our services to those who depend on us.

“There will be challenges going forward undoubtedly, but we remain absolutely committed to what we do. We have a fantastic team here who I am very proud of, they are a brilliant bunch, and we’re all working so hard to do the best for our children, young people and their families.”