29 Jun 2018

The Children’s Society, a charity that works with the country’s most vulnerable children and young people, has secured £2.1 million of National Lottery funding to run a national programme to tackle child exploitation across Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and London. 

The programme, which will launch in July, will use multi-disciplinary teams to run child sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation and labour exploitation services over three years. They will focus on driving long-term, sustainable impact for young people. 

The Children’s Society already have bases in London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. This new funding from the Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity across the UK, will enable The Children’s Society to develop a new programme, which aims to build on these services and work with local partners to share insight, create opportunities and test new solutions together.

Young people with first-hand experience of exploitation will be at the heart of the services, driving their design and delivery to make sure they work for others. 

Across the country, tens of thousands of young people are at risk of criminal, sexual or labour exploitation. Some of these children are arrested for committing crimes when they might have been trafficked, exploited or pressured into it. Some may have been victims of grooming, ‘county lines’ or modern slavery and in need of safeguarding and support. The scale of exploitation is often hidden from view, making it difficult for statutory services to recognise it and respond.

The new programme will provide one–to-one sessions with young people offering advocacy, therapeutic support, group work and participation. The workers will also aim to disrupt the system of exploitation by working with partners to identify risky locations for children, delivering training to staff and identifying parts of the system that don’t recognise these children as victims.

Dara de Burca, Director for Children and Young People at The Children’s Society, said: “We are really excited to have secured this National Lottery funding as it will help us to make a real difference to young people’s lives. This programme will explore and respond to a range of exploitation where we hope to join-up the gaps and support young people, but also to go further and make tangible improvements to how child exploitation is dealt with or prevented in the future.”

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive at the Big Lottery Fund, said; ““Thanks to National Lottery funding, The Children’s Society will work in partnership to address the complexities of child sexual exploitation and identify new approaches to change lives.”

Media enquiries

For more information, please contact Media Officer Charlie Coombes on 020 7841 4422 or media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.