Find out how the UK's oldest children's charity Coram continued to create better chances for children during a period of risk for children unseen since the Second World War
Throughout the pandemic, the Coram Group of charities has focussed 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.
- In 2020-21, the Coram Group provided benefit to 3.5 million individuals and users through a range of digital advice, curriculum and school resources, as well as direct support services to children and families in the UK. We also worked with 29 countries to assess and advance children’s rights.
- The impact of the pandemic, particularly on school access, meant that the number of direct beneficiaries was 118,035 children, young people and carers. This was a reduction from last year’s high of 144,720 but that decrease was more than offset by a significant increase in the number of professionals reached, to over 100,000.
- The year started in the midst of lockdown and was distinctive for the amalgamation on 1 April 2020 of the Shakespeare Schools Foundation to form Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation (CSSF). Despite the unprecedented closure of schools and theatres, the One Night of Shakespeare on Universal Children’s Day still secured 5,000 participants in their first virtual festival.
- Coram moved efficiently to remote working during the full-scale national lockdown, with the job retention programme supporting a challenging period for our schools-facing programmes in particular. We maintained all services and delivered to plan in relation to the major programme to digitise the Coram archive of its early history as the Foundling Hospital with more than 1,000 volunteers world-wide now involved in the transcription and young people’s #realstoriesofcare campaign, both significantly exceeding their targets.
- The cost reduction programme applied helped to mitigate the worst impacts of the sector-wide reduction in fundraising as the major challenge events in the national calendar were cancelled and a forward-deficit budget was approved for 2020-21 to ensure maintenance of vital programmes in readiness to resume work to address the consequences to vulnerable children of the unprecedented break in their access to education.
- The improvement in investment returns and revaluation of pensions liabilities means that the organisation is able to face the future with a positive out-turn and strong platform for the future.