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Blagrave and Comic Relief fund vital support for exploited children

MORE THAN 100 exploited children will be helped by specialist Barnardo’s project workers thanks to The Blagrave Trust and Comic Relief.

The organisations will generously match-fund two additional ‘spokes’ for the U-Turn Service in Southampton, which provides life-changing help for exploited children. The Blagrave Trust, which seeks out exciting partnerships to help some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the south east, has agreed to pay £46,300 per year for the next three years to enable these additional ‘spokes’ to operate from the Southampton Hub. Barnardo’s is delighted to receive this support from the Trust, and also a match-funding promise from Comic Relief. The total amount pledged by both charities is an incredible £277,800.

There will now be a Barnardo’s project worker in the Hampshire and Reading areas. They are expected to take care of an additional 110 abused children over the next three years. The new staff will be based in the heart of the communities they serve. Much of their time will be spent out on the streets trying to not only reach children suspected to be in exploitative situations, but also those at risk. The Hub and spoke model is believed to be the most successful and cost-effective way of tackling this growing issue.

If not given the specialist help they need, sexually exploited children can suffer the trauma of their experiences for the rest of their lives. Child sexual exploitation is a hidden issue, with many cases going unreported because victims are too frightened to talk about what is happening to them. Stephen Harvey-Cook, Barnardo’s Trust Account Manager, said: “These new spokes will bring vital care and support to sexually exploited children who currently have no-one to turn to. We are incredibly grateful to The Blagrave Trust and Comic Relief for providing the funding required to make this possible.”

Jo Wells, director of The Blagrave Trust, said: “The Blagrave Trust is committed to supporting vulnerable young people and as such identified CSE services as an important area… Given the complexity of the issues involving young people who have been victims of CSE or are at risk, it was essential to find a partner who had real expertise, was able to leverage other funders to ensure sustainability of service provision, and who could also influence national policy and practice in this area and had access to latest research and evidence. The strategic prioritisation of this issue that Barnados has made nationally, gave us confidence in them as a delivery organisation. ’