Pandemic leaves Falkirk district charity without main source of income

A new charity that supports some of Falkirk’s most vulnerable children and families has been left without its main source of income.
From left, Richard Stephenson, Sharon Mercado and Diane Duff, trustees of the Children's Panel Fund Falkirk charityFrom left, Richard Stephenson, Sharon Mercado and Diane Duff, trustees of the Children's Panel Fund Falkirk charity
From left, Richard Stephenson, Sharon Mercado and Diane Duff, trustees of the Children's Panel Fund Falkirk charity

The Children’s Panel charity was formed just over a year ago to allow people involved with the panel to make small grants that could make a huge 
difference to young people and their families.

However, its first big fundraising event – a ball they had planned for October –  will no longer happen because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And that’s doubly worrying for those trying to help Falkirk’s young people.

The fund is supposed to be a last resort – a safety net when other options have been exhausted – but the pandemic has meant that other charities and organisations who offer support are also stretched or not operating at all.

And this is all at a time when the risks to children and young people have never been greater.

The charity helps local young people who are the subject of a supervision order either because they have been neglected, subjected to abuse or have been making decisions that are putting themselves at risk.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Decisions on how the money is spent are taken by trustees Sharon Mercado, Richard Stephenson and Diane Duff, who are all Children’s Panel members.

They are in no doubt of the enormous benefit the charity can make at a time when social work budgets have shrunk drastically and welfare funds can taken months to be processed.

Funds have already paid for a child’s bed and and bedding so they could return home from care.

They also bought clothes and toys for a child whose mother threw away all of the child’s possessions because she disagreed with the child being moved to live with the father.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference,” said Richard.

Even relatively small purchases can transform lives.

For example, the fund bought work boots for a boy who is starting an apprenticeship another child got an extra pair of glasses to be kept in school because their own glasses kept being broken at home.

And for one girl who was bought a prom dress, it made all the difference in the world.

Proms are so important to young people now but they are so expensive,” said Diane.

“That dress was hugely important to that young girl.

“She said it made her feel ‘normal’.”

If you can help support the Children’s Panel Fund Falkirk email [email protected].

Any donations will be gratefully received.

Related topics: