The funding for the current Scotland Regional Coordinator Project is coming to an end. Read on to find out how CLAPA plans to keep people affected by cleft in Scotland supported and connected as we move forward.
About the Project
Since 2015, the Scotland Regional Coordinator Project has been putting on events, generating activity and supporting local volunteers throughout Scotland. The project was funded over three years by grants from the Big Lottery Fund, local children’s hospital charities, and a number of other smaller trusts and foundations. This funding allowed CLAPA to employ a full-time Regional Coordinator, Gillian, (subsequently Scotland Manager) and a part-time Support Officer, Melanie. A second Support Officer, Rebecca, was recruited as maternity cover, and thanks to an underspend we were able to keep her in post until the project’s end.
The existing funding for this project will end on 31st August 2018. Sadly, with no continuation funding, this means we will have to cut back on our services in Scotland.
The positive impact our Scotland team have had since 2015 cannot be overstated. Thanks to their hard work and the enthusiasm of our local volunteers, hundreds of Scottish families have had a chance to meet up and make connections at one of the many events they have organised around the country. Their drive towards raising awareness in schools, community groups and dentists has educated thousands of people about cleft lip and palate. Their expertise also helped immensely during the centralisation of Scotland Cleft Services as we worked hard to keep patients and families informed.
Throughout this entire project, we could not have asked for a more dedicated, hardworking and compassionate team looking after our community in Scotland. As the project draws to a close, CLAPA remains absolutely committed to maintaining a service in Scotland which includes local staff to support volunteers and events.
What Happens Next?
Thanks to a small grant from the VTCT Foundation, as well as the fundraising efforts of our generous community in Scotland, we will be able to continue the work of our Scotland team on a smaller scale after the project ends this month. This will include a part-time Scotland Manager supporting local volunteers and activity. This post will likely be 2 ½ days per week, with a view towards building the service back up in a sustainable way over the next few years.
Unfortunately, without full continuation funding we simply aren’t able to continue providing this service in its current form. This is why, with deep regret, at the end of August we will be saying goodbye to Melanie and Rebecca, our Scotland Support Officers.
Melanie and Rebecca have been a crucial part of CLAPA’s local and national work over the last few years. In particular, they’ve been instrumental in setting up and supporting local Happy Faces Groups to support new and expectant parents across Scotland. They will both be truly missed by our staff team, and we are sure the CLAPA community across the UK will join us in thanking them for their hard work and dedication, and in wishing them the very best for the future.
At this time of change, we want our volunteers and the cleft community in Scotland to know that CLAPA remains committed to supporting you to the best of our ability. The end of this project may mean we have less capacity, but we will continue to do everything we can to put on events, support our volunteer-run groups, and advocate for our Scottish community with the help of local staff.
Why is the project ending?
The existing funding for this project runs out at the end of August 2018. Keen to continue the fantastic work of our Scotland team, CLAPA applied for continuation funding, but were devastated to learn several months ago that our application was not successful. Government cuts and a changing economic climate have led to very tough competition for funding like this in recent years, and CLAPA is one of many charities having to cut back as a result
From 1st September 2018, the pared back project will be funded by a grant from the VTCT Foundation and CLAPA’s core funds generated by community fundraising and donations.
We aren’t able to keep funding the project as it is, but remain dedicated to keeping a local staff member in Scotland to build on the fantastic work of our existing team. We hope that the next few years will see CLAPA in a position where we’re able to build this service back up in a sustainable way.
What about fundraising from Scotland?
Our community in Scotland have always been generous fundraisers, and we are extremely grateful for their support over the years. As much as possible, funds raised in Scotland during this crucial time are being spent on preserving our services in the region.
Even with the vital support of our community around the UK, many of CLAPA’s projects wouldn’t be possible without grant funding, and the Scotland Regional Coordinator Project is no exception. The challenge now is to keep as much of a service in Scotland as possible within the limits of CLAPA’s limited funds.
Why is this being announced now?
Since finding out our application for continuation funding was not successful, we have made smaller applications to a wide range of funders in the hopes of retaining as much of the existing service as possible. We didn’t want to announce the end of this project without being able to share with our community what the service would look like in the future, and up until now we have been waiting on the outcome of some key applications. Now that we know these outcomes, we’re better able to plan for the future of our service in Scotland, and are now in a position where we can share these plans with you.
Why do only some areas have Regional Coordinators?
Regional Coordinators across the UK are funded through grants from trusts and foundations, like the Big Lottery Fund. Once funding for the Scotland Regional Coordinator project ends on 31st August, we will only have funding for full-time Regional Coordinators in South East England, Central England, and the East of England. Other regions have part-time Engagement Officers, funded primarily by donations from CLAPA’s community.
Providing equal access and support for our services and volunteers is very important to us. Our ultimate goal is still to employ full-time Regional Coordinators in all 8 UK regions (which loosely mirror the areas covered by the NHS Cleft Services), as independent evaluation has shown this to be extremely effective in helping people affected by cleft to make connections, increase their confidence and feel better about their situations. However, as a small charity, we are limited by our funding, and employing Regional Coordinators throughout the UK is not a viable option at the moment.