The UK Department for Education (DfE) and the Home Office has announced £7.6m funding to support national charities which support vulnerable children and young people who are experiencing or at risk of domestic violence, sexual exploitation and abuse.
Following the announcement, the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan have issued a joint letter to the Home Office and are calling for funding to reach charities in Wales.
Jane Hutt said:
“This funding is aimed at larger charities who are in financial distress due to Covid-19. I welcome funding which will help charities across Wales to support vulnerable children and young people who are living with the impacts of domestic violence, sexual exploitation and abuse.
“Unfortunately, however, it seems that the approach taken rules out Welsh-based charities from applying for this funding in their own right. I want assurance that national charities operating in Wales are being supported to enable them to remain operational in Wales, or to extend their operations into Wales.
“We have been in discussion with the Home Office since early April, and were told the fund would be open to national charities that are either Welsh charities, English charities, or charities that operate both in England and Wales.”
“However, as only national charities with an annual turnover of over £40m are eligible to apply, DfE has set the criteria for applications in a way which effectively bars charities in Wales. To the best of our knowledge, there are no charities in Wales which support vulnerable children and have an operating turnover of more than £40 million.
“The differences in the legislative landscape, funding support and service provision between the two countries is lost by this high-bar approach. This is exacerbated by the fact that few eligible charities operate in Wales on an all-Wales basis.”
Julie Morgan said:
“I am greatly concerned that due to the criteria set, Wales’ children and young people may not see any real benefits from this funding. We want assurances that vulnerable children and young people right across our country will benefit.
“I am further concerned that we will not see any proposals from charities for funding support until after decisions on approval are made. This would prevent us from being able to provide government support on proposed activities or from knowing whether any proposals duplicate or cut across work already underway.
“Wales has a separate legislative framework and policy for responding to children and young people at risk, and we need to be able to ensure these important projects are correctly aligned. It will be vital that any organisations that are funded fully understand this, so they engage with Welsh Government and safeguarding partners in an effective way.
“Our most disadvantaged children and young people need to see the benefits of this fund. Together with Jane Hutt, we are calling on the Home Office to reconsider the conditions relating to this funding.”