What we do at Buttle UK, at its core, is very simple. We pay for things that we would expect any child growing up in the UK to have, but which their parents or carers cannot afford. We do this through our Chances for Children grants. These grants are up to £2,000 and they are specifically focused on the child. Indeed, they wrap around the child to improve their wellbeing and to increase their capacity to engage in education.
I'd love to say that we provide incredible items – new levels of technology to change the world, but in fact that’s the rub. We don't. We provide very basic, normal items that most of the public would make a decision to buy in a heartbeat. It could be a child's bed, school uniform, after school activities and, increasingly, IT equipment to do schoolwork and stay connected. If you don't have these things as a child, life gets a lot tougher. And no child should have to start each and every day, without the basics.
Sometimes, it's hard to understand just what a difference this targeted financial intervention - made at the right time - can have. £2,000 may seem like a relatively modest amount, but for many of the children, young people and families we support it can be truly transformational.
“The way I described receiving a grant to somebody the other day was like being given a whole new start after such a horrible few years. It's like deleting bad memories to make room for new happy ones.” - Parent
Applications for Chances for Children grants come from an extensive network of frontline services all across the UK. I think that this way of working is really key to the success of what we do, because we know we cannot create change on our own. These organisations know what the child or young person's needs are better than we ever can, they can provide longer term support that we cannot offer and they are also able to manage the grant funds once awarded. I'm proud to say that we know our expertise and we also know our limits.
Together, this partnership with hundreds of local organisations, helps build social capital. It does this by removing barriers these services face in achieving their own objectives for the children and young people they work with.
“The difference this charity money has made for the family has second to none. Funding the holiday club for the children was amazing, this meant they were doing something exciting and kept them away from the constant reminder of what they have been through around the domestic abuse … The move to the new house would have been so much more stressful for them, providing carpets for their bedrooms had meant the mum has been able to get their bedrooms sorted. They have been in the house for 3 weeks now and they are already settled and proud of their new rooms. Even the baby is settled and sleeps though the night. None of this would be possible without the charity funding and your support to help me to help this family.”
- Frontline support worker
We are named after Frank Buttle, an inspirational clergyman who dedicated the later part of his life building a fund that would launch 1,000 children a year into life. He was not a rich man, far from it. He reminds me of a modern-day fundraiser who would often be seen riding around on his bike from meeting to meeting building support for his fund (something I've tried to continue on the busy streets of London too!) He set himself a goal to build the fund to £1m and in 1953, when he died, he was only £80,000 short.
Joseph Howes, CEO