By Steve Williams, Senior Partner for Deloitte in Scotland and Northern Ireland
Earlier this year, startling figures highlighted a devastating rise in child poverty in Scotland – over a quarter of our country’s children are living in relative poverty.
As a business, we have a responsibility to contribute to helping causes that matter to us, and, for all of our Scottish practices, our focus is fully on Scotland’s children and their wellbeing.
As part of our five-year, UK-wide One Million Futures strategy, we announced that we’d be working closely with three of Scotland’s children’s charities: Befriend a Child, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and Children 1st.
The UK-wide initiative will see us work with 45 charities, schools and social enterprises, in the hope of improving one million lives. In Scotland, we want to help children and young adults go on to fulfil their full potential in education and employment, regardless of their background.
Providing pro bono support to help all three organisations, our ultimate aim is to improve their services, in turn, making a difference to the children and young adults who rely on them.
Our Glasgow office is working hard to create a new programme for the patients and staff at Skye House. It’s an adolescent psychiatric unit based at Stobhill Hospital, part of the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. The programme will give patients advice on living independently and how to become more financially aware, in addition to employability tutorials and one-to-one mentoring.
We’ve already had some encouraging feedback from the charity. Kirsten Sinclair, Director of Fundraising at Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Deloitte for their support. It’s so important that the young people treated at Skye House not only receive the best possible medical care, but that they also receive the help they need to thrive outside the four walls of the hospital. Mental health conditions should not prevent children from identifying their passions and strengths, and this project will be extremely beneficial for our young patients.”
Up in Aberdeen, our team is working with Befriend a Child to develop an impact report, as well as a tool to capture data relating to the children it works with. Combined, they will help articulate the charity’s economic impact and better support applications for funding.
Speaking of the partnership, Richard Stewart, Head of Marketing, Fundraising and External Affairs at Befriend a Child, said: “Through the creation of an impact report with Deloitte, we hope to demonstrate and articulate the real impact we make in transforming young, local lives. This will give us a better chance of securing a greater level of funding to make a lasting difference in our community, permitting the children of Aberdeen and beyond a brighter future. Without Deloitte’s support, we would not have been able to fund this piece of work.”
Our third and final partnership is between our Edinburgh office and Scotland’s national children’s charity, Children 1st. Deloitte will help the charity create a five-year strategy and recently hosted a collaborative session with the organisation at our new Edinburgh Greenhouse facility.
Ashley Sharp, Senior Corporate Fundraiser at Children 1st, added: “Through utilising the skills offered by Deloitte, we will be able to put together an effective five-year plan, allowing us to maximise our ability to help each child. In the next five years, we will look to make sure that every resource is pulled together in the best possible structure, allowing us to help more children.”
The charity partnerships underline Deloitte’s ongoing commitment to help tackle social mobility in Scotland, and our focus on bettering the lives of our children. It’s important to us that we use our resources to make a positive impact on the communities in which we live.
The country’s child poverty figures won’t decline on their own. To make a real change, support is required – big or small – from those in a position to help. The three charities we’ve partnered with carry out life-changing work every single day. We’re proud to be able to work together with them as part of our goal to improve one million futures.