With child poverty in the UK already at record levels pre the pandemic, the onslaught of Covid has only heightened this issue. Lockdown has also illustrated the inequality of opportunity for children from different backgrounds and so our vision ‘to build a community where every child from birth to 12 years old is supported to grow into a healthy, happy and educated member of our community’ has never been more prescient.
Our ambition is to use the Foundation Fund to significantly reduce the educational attainment gap (Key Stage 2) in BaNES by 2029. This gap is the single most striking measure of inequality, placing BaNES in the bottom decile in the UK. The causes of this gap are broad and relate as much to the social and emotional development of children from pre-birth as they do to formal schooling.
Furthermore, narrowing the inequality gap will help prevent the broad range of complex social issues experienced by children from different backgrounds. Reducing inequality is about more than just improving education. We will focus our support on physical, behavioral and emotional needs to enable children to be ready to learn.
This new direction will see us hone our expertise in the provision of funding and become the initiators of major social change. St John’s want to be an integral part of bringing about transformation in BaNES, acting as a focal point for diverse organisations to collaborate and support childhood development.
As a result of this change in direction, a number of charities which have previously been eligible for funding will no longer meet our criteria.
We look forward to sharing further information regarding the implementation of our strategy as it evolves. In the meantime, if you have any specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact the team.
We would like to emphasise that the Crisis Fund remains open to individuals and families of all ages.