Business 365 Issue 2

Will you help us make the Island the best pace in the world to live?

Read this months Business 365 article, written by Joff Whitten - Head of The Children's Centre

Covid-19 is back on the island and out in the community – although hopefully under control. When you read this it might be completely under control once more, or it may not. The new variation is thought to be even more contagious and the island may have had to make the tough decision to stay locked-down for longer than hoped.

I can't lie – I am not enjoying this at all. And by that I don't mean I'm a spoilt 'me-first' person; I see the greater good here. This isn't about me personally; it's about all of us and our shared future. And in some ways that is why I worry, and why I am not enjoying this.

We have been so lucky here on island, for nearly six months we've been able to pretend that everyday life was pretty normal. It's not been perfect and so many people haven't had the chance to see the family they would normally see or haven't had the adventures that keep us all sane and normal. But our luck has run out, not because of human error but because the virus is a really tricky swine of a virus. Businesses and individuals have had to drastically change their working patterns, and many have adapted amazingly. But not everything has changed, or actually can change. But we need to think creatively or change will never happen. Which brings me to the third sector.

At The Children's' Centre we helped so many families duringthe previous lockdown and undertook projects that werereally innovative giving the kids we work with something fun,useful and engaging to explore. My favourite was the littleteam who built a virtual version of the farm in the computergame 'Minecraft'. I have just submitted the planningdocuments for a new wizard's tower at the farm as I think weneed one in real life as well...

Our work at The Children's Centre is to help children, young people and families get through challenges in their lives.Our work is slow, considered and careful. It takes time, and as such it is quite expensive – a class group of 30 children working with one teacher costs the same as one child in crisis working with one practitioner. I don't have a problem with this, if we were all the same size and shape the world would be a dull place – some kids just need more help to fly than others.

However, the issue we face in the third sector is our funding models. We at The Children's Centre are totally independent and don't receive any financial support from the government. Our budget comes from donations, funders like the Manx Lottery Trust, individual giving and our fundraising events like Race the Sun. I know there are a lot of tremendously generous people living on the Isle of Man so my plea to them is to ask that can if they can, to think of a local charity to support. We are finding it increasingly hard to access funding bodies in the UK as it is perceived by many that there aren't challenges living here. And I am not for a minute suggesting there aren't thousands of people in the UK needing help, or further afield. But we have people here needing our help to. And if we can't raise the funds to help these people then they won't be helped. Which leads to all the social troubles becoming more pronounced – more problems with schools, lack of opportunities, more violence, more drugs, more despair and ultimately loss of businesses.

So what can we do?

We all want the island to be a brilliant place to be born, raised, live, work and love so for that to be possible we need a healthy balance between government bodies and the third sector. We need a new way of thinking about funding sources, and make an honest appraisal that the public purse isn't limitless. I am writing this to the business community to ask if you agree, and if so will you help us make the island the best place in the world to live?

How can you help?

There are many ways you can support our work.

  • £3,000 per day to run our charitable programmes
  • £7 benefit for every £1 spent on Thriving families programme
  • 40% of local children and young people engaged in our services
  • 16 groups of all ages hosted at the Farm each week