A word from our new CEO

12th November 2018

Blog

Joseph Howes’s arrival as Chief Executive of Buttle UK comes at a momentous time in the organisation’s history. Buttle UK has always, and will continue to be committed to helping support some of the UK’s most vulnerable children out of poverty – be this by helping to stabilise their home environment, support their wellbeing or attain an educational or training goal. However, recently the organisation has moved away from a small grants approach to offering larger, more holistic, flexible and tailored grant packages.

Though a newcomer to Buttle UK, Joseph is no stranger to the charity sector having previously worked in fundraising roles for 18 years, most recently at homelessness charity Depaul UK as their Executive Director of Fundraising Development and Communications.

At Depaul we started out with a fundraising total of £1.3m in the first year, which had grown to £6m by the time of my departure, and I see no reason why that kind of success would not be possible here at Buttle UK. We are starting to build our work with trusts and foundations, and companies as they understandably want to support areas where they are based and operate.

Last year we raised just over £1.5m and we’re really looking to build on that foundation to enable us to deliver our Chances for Children grants throughout the country. I think we’re really well placed to be able to deliver on that.

This isn’t just about scalability, it’s about a high quality of intervention at the right time. We have extensive, tailor made referral systems that are designed to do be able to function from a national level all the way down to potentially, almost any locality and we have the experience of how to manage this already in place, with expert referral agencies. We’ve proven that we can do this both from our 13 years of managing the BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials contract and more recently through our work on the Beds for Kids Campaign with Dreams.

The latter is just one example of a really successful corporate partnership, and it’s not an isolated one either. We’ve had great working relationships with organisations such as News UK and Graphite to name just a couple, and the list is getting longer.

The great thing is, the infrastructure is largely in place already, and what’s more, it has been covered by the endowment, meaning we don’t pass on any costs to supporters. That’s something really special about Buttle UK. We can get to any corner of the UK with our support and by covering our own administration costs we can focus supporters’ money on a specific geographical area, ensuring that 100% of what they give will go to a child or young person in crisis - that’s a great offer.

Not only that but the support is accountable and effective. We can account for every penny we spend and we’re implementing evaluations at regular intervals with clients. We’ve already had these grants independently evaluated as saving the tax payer £6 for every £1 that we spend and I think the message about early intervention saving more in the future is one that is gradually starting to resonate – and this is something we’re really looking to expand upon with our support for boarding places as well.

The data that we get from these grants has huge potential and really gives us scope to explore the changing face of child poverty today. For instance, rather than what might be the perception of poverty amongst many, we find that nowadays two thirds of or clients are from families where at least one parent is in work.

Its figures like that, in conjunction with the fact that up to 400,000 children could be without a proper bed of their own today in the UK that many of us, even in the sector, find so shocking. Things like that keep us motivated to do more, and with the right support, ultimately Buttle is well placed to make a real difference in children and young people’s lives.  

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