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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 15:16 GMT
Plea for Children's Society U-turn fails
Girl, generic
The charity's departure threatens children, it is claimed
Trustees of the Children Society have refused to reverse its decision to pull out of Wales but agree to explore options for a further five years funding for projects.

Teenagers who have benefited from the church-funded organisation's work and staff facing redundancy travelled to London to lobby the society's board of trustees for millions in continued funding.

The trip followed an announcement in November that the charity was pulling out of Wales in a bid to solve cashflow problems around the UK.

Disadvantaged children
The society works to protect disadvantaged children

Their aim was to secure a share of the society's 4m reserves but by the end of the meeting on Friday, no cash had been committed to operations in Wales.

The society's communications officer for Wales said: "We welcome this small movement and want to work with them but we are disappointed because we wanted much more."

The charity's departure means the loss of 120 jobs and 13 advocacy projects for disadvantaged children, many set up after the damning Waterhouse report in child abuse in north Wales.

The move provoked fierce criticism, with a furious Reverend Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Wales, claiming the decision could have a negative impact on the lives of many youngsters in Wales.

He immediately withdrew Church in Wales funding from the society's projects.

Anger was compounded last week when the society announced bonuses of 300,000 for staff in England.

The society was is aiming to balance a 6m shortfall in funds across its work.

Millions needed

Sarah Manners of the Children's Society in Wales said they had set out to convince the trusees what could be achieved in Wales.

The society's cutbacks means the loss of projects intended to give a voice to children in the care of local authorities.

Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams
Archbishop Rowan Williams: Set up new fund
The charity also runs community projects in some of the poorest parts of Wales, like one in Merthyr Tydfil and others in Pembrokeshire and Powys.

A taskforce has already begun drawing up a business plan for a new charity, taking on the Children's Society's work in Wales.

Welsh society member George Jones said: We hope, if the trustees can't find it in their hearts to reverse their decision, they can find it in their coffers -

"We must move on positively to maintain the services to young people.

"We're asking them for a fair, moral proportion so that the new charity has a sizable reserve for itself.

He said the delegation would ask trustees to support the new Welsh charity in other ways if the cash could not be stumped up.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Kate Carr
"They will be telling trustees not to abandon Wales"
George Jones, Children's Society in Wales
"We're asking them for a fair, moral proportion"
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