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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 17:45 GMT
Assembly urged to back children's projects
The Church in Wales will use its funds to help children
Children in poverty will be helped by church funding
The Welsh Assembly has been called on to come up with 300,000 for The Children's Society Cymru to run key services in Wales.

Staff members held an urgent meeting with The Church in Wales - one of the society's chief sources of funding - to devise a rescue package, after executives announced an end to all services in Wales earlier this month.
Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams
Archbishop Rowan Williams: Church has new role

The staff team also met this afternoon with the taskforce set up by Assembly Social Services Minister Jane Hutt, to ask for 300,000 as an interim payment to keep services running between 31 March andJuly 2002.

On Sunday, the Church in Wales announced a new Archbishop of Wales's Fund for Children, which will channel existing church support into future children's projects in Wales.

On Tuesday, the taskforce was urged to come up with funds to keep services in Wales running until next summer, when they are due to be wound up.

TCS Cymru policy officer Maria Battle said: "Time is of the essence and we need someone to come up with an interim payment."

"It's not very much to ask in the grand scheme of things but will make all the difference between the invaluable work of The Children's Society in Wales continuing, or being lost for ever."
Children Society's Welsh policy officer Maria Battle
Maria Battle: Staff will fight on

Many standing orders to the society have already been cancelled after it was announced that the society were to axe 120 jobs and cease all its operations in order to save money.

The decision has caused widespread anger, with the Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams himself instantly resigning as vice-president of the charity.

As well as the new fund, the taskforce will deal with the fallout of the society's decision to end its associations with Wales after 113 years.

All of the society's 13 advocacy projects -set up in direct response to the Waterhouse report on child abuse in north Wales - are due to be terminated by next June.
Wales's Children's Commissioner Peter Clarke:
Children's Commissioner Peter Clarke: Meeting

Senior society officials said radical measures were needed to balance a 6m shortfall in funding.

The society's shock announcement earlier this month provoked protest, with Mrs Hutt and other leading figures in Wales said they had not been previously consulted.

The Children's Commissioner for Wales Peter Clarke said he would seek a rescue package while the charity's staff held a series of crisis meetings to set up an emergency shadow management team to run the projects.

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