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Children England Closure, Cumulative Trauma, Beyond Hope And Despair, Stunned wordless Emotional Numbness As A Protection

Children England closure, cumulative trauma, beyond Hope and Despair, stunned wordless emotional numbness as a protection

The collective voice of the National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations (NCVCCO) started in 1942. In 2008 Children England carried on this essential task. The task has always been practical support for often small voluntary organisations along with influencing government. It was integral to the development of the welfare state. Over decades each landmark legal and practical reform for children has benefited from the expertise of Children England.

Knowing this let’s be clear nothing softens this loss. It is seismic. It is not just another loss. It is emblematic of the losses we are experiencing. It makes them clear and profound. The loss is part of It provides an insight into the intense emotional impact those of us in children’s services are experiencing as a result of our continued inclusion.

Let’s be clear nothing will replace Children England. A new, let’s call it children’s charities coalition, is not CE. It might only be the large voluntary organisations that could propose a phoenix like new organisation. Mantles may be claimed. Small voluntary organisations experience today’s pressures in a qualitatively different way, they do not have the organisational layers to withstand the economic and emotional pressures.

The closure will be another indication of these times. We see and hear the tree that is Children England fall but this closure is emblematic of voluntary community responses to unmet needs struggling to survive.

Children England has been consistently making the right analysis calling out the avoidable impacts of austerity on small voluntary organisations, children, families, and has equally consistently offered creative coherent solutions that would reverse the impact of disinvestment children

Knowing someone is out there advocating for you is important in giving you a secure base from which to work. It needs protecting in layers. These are getting thinner and thinner. The representation of practitioners and practice, both stem from a not for profit base, is being eroded by the colonisation of that space by the territorial promotion of provider, often for profit (even amongst larger voluntary organisations as they seek to survive in a commercial marketplace).

How do you make continuing chaos work? The current zeitgeist of ‘collaboration’ is not a solution. Actually, it is people and organisations being sucked into a maelstrom.

Where are the people constructing alternative futures – that can construct something beyond or other than what is happening now and with each innovation is the same as before but packaged a little differently. Crisis has become normalised. Crisis is reality.

No-one is up for challenge or critique, never mind campaign. The zone of comfort is making what we do now be here for tomorrow. That is why we see more of the same and nothing new, it is said everywhere, not the right care. Outside the current care nexus is a cold place best to do what people say they want. No-one can hear you scream in space. Ensuring there is a return on the investment, the bottom line is the ambition.

Children England was never easily compartmentalised. It was neither left right or centre. It brought in thinking from outside social care. It was not a think tank, it was more than that. Think tanks today are overwhelmingly on the right in political spectrum – the solutions all turn to return on investment, non-state, for profit, monetising care. The very idea of the gift relationship, the social, state and community, not for profit are not equal in today’s thinking..

It maybe argued that this is where the Care Review starts, with love and relationships. In an economy and society riven with the anxiety that scarcity brings reality it undercuts them. Its effects will be to remove services that allow breathing space. Even the services will be suffocated, they struggle to meet the statutory. All workers with children see their caseload, stress, and blood pressure rising. What is to pull you back and onwards? It isn’t that determination left the services, but the other way round.

Funders no longer there for altruistic projects. Children England has an enormous following and a lots of friends yet even it cannot make ends meet. The gift economy is going, going …. going because there is not enough left over.

Children England  has been one of the voices of conscience. They are getting smaller and this should be a concern. Progress comes through dialogue not monologue

In 2020 David Cameron launched the Big Society idea, describing it as the drive to empower communities being his “great passion”. 13 tears of undeclared austerity later we see the results. It was supposed to be a redistribution of power but incrementally and incessantly we are witnessing the eating away at that of those who are intimately linked with a community. What comes after self-help fails?

Today’s economy figures are celebrated as a 0.1% decline in inflation. That still means prices are increasing. First we need to go electric then we need to save fossil fuels. Government mirror exactly how we all feel – how do we carry on? Can we carry on? We are defending ourselves from the reality that we cannot carry on like this. Nor can we allow continuous loss. This is cumulative trauma we are living through. There is something beyond the loss of Hope and Despair it is the stunned  wordless emotional numbness as a protection to deprivation.

The situation of Children England comes through “The truth is we need a government that helps to build a big society.” The Big Society, as in 1942, was meant to be a partnership with local communities, but these projects are dependent on funding and resources being put in place. The idea of the unconditional requires the material conditions for it to be made real.

The loss of Children England should make us all sit up alarmed. Community voluntary organisations, the people often serving others for little or no reward doing the “things that fire you up in the morning, that drive you, that you truly believe will make a real difference to the country you love”, a quote from Cameron, are hanging by a thread.

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