In 2020/21, amid the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we consolidated, adapted and expanded our work in a number of key areas to deliver better chances for children:
Adoption and family support
- Coram Ambitious for Adoption RAA expanded, working with more local authorities and we placed 54 children with Coram adopters despite court delays.
- We continued to provide essential services including tailored support online for 800 families, creative therapy sessions for 154 children, and our Parent Champions supported nearly 14,000 families at risk of isolation during lockdown.
Rights and Voice
- Coram Voice advocacy support increased by 22%, reaching 7,602 children and young in and leaving care.
- We published the report What Makes Life Good report by Coram Voice, capturing 13,500 responses and putting children’s voices centre stage ahead of the government’s independent review into children’s social care.
- We protected children’s legal rights, including CCLC’s intervention in a landmark Supreme Court action on data protection rights and supported 965 children, young people, parents and carers though CCLC’s immigration legal advice line.
Education and well-being
- We supported schools and children with reading through Coram Beanstalk, including a popular ‘Storytime’ event, sponsored by Very, with over 64,000 online visitors.
- Back to School resources by Coram Life Education, with over 42,000 teachers subscribed, focused on boosting children’s wellbeing as they returned to school.
Insight and Innovation
- We launched the new Innovation Incubator, along with nine founding local authorities and partnerships with Microsoft, EY and PA Consulting, to find pioneering solutions to the challenges faced by children’s services.
- CoramBAAF celebrated 40 years of research and expertise, reaching over 65,000 subscribing professionals with advice, training and information.
- We contributed to national policy discussion around childcare provision, the future of care, and EU Settlement Scheme.
- Coram International worked in 29 countries in the last year, delivering 28 projects in East and West Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and in the South-East Asia and Pacific region
- We launched the first ever historical timeline of care as part of our ground-breaking Voices Through Time: The Story of Care programme, with over 9,000 people engaging online and 7,434 hours given by volunteers in 2020 to help transcribe our archive.
In the joint foreword, CEO of Coram, Dr Carol Homden, and Sir David Bell, President and Chairman, write: “Despite the inevitable impact on our scale and capacity, the Coram Group of charities has focused on two key priorities – to sustain services for children and current needs today and to step-change impact in addressing the challenges of tomorrow, with a keen focus on diversity, inclusion and social justice.
Even through national lockdown, the Coram Group maintained all services, moving to remote working and virtual contact across therapy, family support, advocacy and advice. We provided home reading and Back to School resources and, with parents and professionals more focused than ever on children’s wellbeing, have seen overall growth in our digital reach.
The closure of schools means vulnerable children have been less able to access support. As the weeks and months have passed, these risks – to safety, food security, education and mental health – have become ever more evident and ever more pressing.”