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BBC Radio 4  - BBC Radio 4

Buttle UK's BBC Radio 4 Appeal

Buttle UK were a part of this year’s BBC Radio 4 Charity Appeal to raise funds for children in poverty and crisis.

The appeal was launched on Sunday 14 January, presented by Rob Rinder, and is open for donations.

The appeal focused on one key area of their funding; Kinship Care, and discusses the challenges that kinship care families face through the story of Bev and her grandchildren, and how donations can make a difference.  

Postcode Children Trust have agreed to match each donation made to Buttle UK during the appeal up to a total of £40,000. So any donation made will be worth double.

Bev’s Story

Anyone who suddenly takes on the care of a child, whose parents were unable to care for them, would find it an overwhelming experience. However, if you were only just getting by on a low income, meeting the needs of a traumatised child can feel impossible.

These children have likely already been through a dreadful experience. Many of them find themselves in their families' care as their parents have suffered from mental health issues or drug or alcohol problems, leaving them unable to care for their children. Many have also suffered the loss of a parent.

Take for example, Tremaine, Errol and Pasha, who were placed in the care of their grandmother Bev, after watching their mother head down a dark road of drugs and crime.

Bev welcomed them with open arms, but she suffered from ill health herself and was on a low income. The children were lost and confused, but Bev could not even afford to buy them beds.

Bev found a local support worker who made an application to Buttle UK. In just a couple of weeks, the children were given beds and bedding, clothing, and a new fridge for the family.

Buttle UK also funded boxing lessons for the two teenage boys and gymnastics for young Pasha. This, Bev says, was the game changer. It gave them all routine and discipline, along with something to look forward to every week. Two years later, Bev couldn’t be prouder of how her grandchildren have been able to move forward from that dark time.

Estimates based on the latest census indicate there are over 200,000 children in the UK currently living with extended family or friends and 90% of these kinship care placements are informal arrangements with no access to support from social services.

We know that kinship care provides a level of continuity, stability, and continuous care that children in the formal care system do not always receive. In fact, 43% of children in kinship care achieve 5 or more A*-C's at GCSE, whilst only 19% of those in formal care achieve the same.

However, Buttle UK’s own research, published with the University of Bristol, shows most kinship care families live in extreme financial hardship, more than a 1/3 are trying to get by on less than £200 a week. Children in kinship care represented the third largest area for our support in the last year, but we are currently reaching less than 1% of these children and want to do more.

You can listen to the full appeal online.

Source: Buttle UK