24 Aug 2010

It is with deep regret that The Children's Society is announcing the closure of the Unity Project, Partington.

The Children’s Society, like many other charities, has been affected by the current challenging financial climate, and unfortunately, obtaining new funding for this project has proved problematic, whilst there has been a gradual reduction is some local funding over the past few years. A decision has therefore been made that The Children's Society has to close the Unity project. Although there is local authority funding for some of the work to run through to March 2011, The Children's Society has decided to hand back this money as it is not sufficient to sustain the project.

The Children's Society is proud to have worked in Partington for exactly 30 years (it opened August 1980). The Unity Project has offered children, young people and their families access to a wide range of formal and informal opportunities to spend time having fun and getting to know their peers in their own community. The project up to its closure at the end of August 2010, offered services based around community play, youth work, and parenting and family support programmes. We do this by focusing on positives, such as enhancing the skills of those we work with, thereby offering children and young people a chance for a better future.

Over the last 30 years, the project has carried out a huge and varied range of fantastic work. It started in a house on the estate, and engaged in a range of activities including: welfare advice; play schemes; LETS (Local Exchange Trading Schemes); work with young people with additional needs and challenging behaviour; work with YOIs (Young Offenders Institutes); graffiti projects; music production projects; work with parents of adolescent young people; guns and gangs work; a community crèche; consultations and the development of relationships with MPS (e.g. Beverley Hughes).

Rob Jackson, Assistant Director, The Children's Society, said: “The Children's Society very much wanted to remain in Partington to continue the good work that we have been doing, specifically supporting children and young people. Over the years so many people in the local community have given time and energy to volunteer and participate in activities at the centre on Oak Road. There have been great successes and the commitment of the staff team at the project has been first-class. However, the project needs to run on a sound financial footing and this has not been possible in the present economic climate.”

The building in Oak Road will be handed back to the Partington Town Council for further use by the local community. The Children's Society also leaves the legacy of the high quality production equipment, computers and sports apparatus bought using a variety of funding schemes over several years. Since these items were bought for the children and young people of Partington and Trafford, it was decided that they should stay and continue to be used by these young people and we have therefore decided to hand it over to the Local Council. We hope that this equipment, worth several thousand pounds, will be of continuing benefit to the young people in the community who we have served for such a long period of time.


For more information, please contact Rafi Cooper in The Children's Society media office. Tel: 020 7841 4526, email: rafi.cooper@childsoc.org.uk.