In the course of the year, Coram has provided direct support to nearly 145,000 children, young people, parents and carers, supported over 400,000 children and young people through our education and early years programmes, and provided online resources and specialist advice to millions of digital users of our services.
In 2019/20, we:
· Adapted our services to the lockdown, to support more children, young people, families, schools and agencies than ever;
· Welcomed the Shakespeare Schools Foundation, running the world’s biggest annual Shakespeare festival for young people into the Group;
· Published the Call for Change, our manifesto for policy makers and sector professionals, setting out the policy changes that we believe need to happen for make children’s rights and welfare a reality;
· Grew our regional adoption agency Coram Ambitious for Adoption, now delivering adoption services to eight London boroughs;
· Started work on the Story of Care: Voices Through Time programme which will see the digitisation of our historic archive from 1739, thanks to a £1.2m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund
In the joint foreword, our CEO Dr Carol Homden, and Sir David Bell, President and Chairman, write:
“In a ‘normal’ year this welcome would have highlighted the further expansion of the Coram Group, the increase in numbers of children and young people we have supported, and our growing status as an authoritative commentator on issues affecting children and young people.
“But over recent months, we have faced a challenge that none of us foresaw when we published last year’s report setting out how, inspired by our founder Thomas Coram, we continued to work for the children, young people and families who most need our support. Covid-19 has hit the most vulnerable disproportionately, and the youngest in our society have all too often borne the consequences.
“The services that we run across the Coram Group are needed now more than ever – both as we work to provide services despite the constraints of lockdown, and as we look longer-term to address the many issues which have been amplified by the measures to control the pandemic.
“As we set out the achievements of the past year, this report underlines where we know there is much still to do and where we will use our experience, skills and passion to support authorities where we can, but also to hold them to account where we must and to work across agencies to inform policy and practice for the future.”