BUSINESSES and individuals are being invited to back a new charity to improve the life chances of Calderdale children in care.
“Together for Looked-after Children” will be officially launched in April by its founder, Coun Craig Whittaker, the Calder Valley Conservative MP.
Among the patrons who have already agreed to support the project are actor Barry Rutter, the founder of Northern Broadsides, television presenter Christine Talbot, author Gervase Phinn, Janet Lumb of Timeout Homes, and Leigh-Anne Stradeski, the chief executive of the Eureka.
Councillor Whittaker, who until last year was Calderdale Council’s spokesman for children’s services, said youngsters not in their parents’ care deserved everyone’s support.
He said: “Only seven per cent in council care nationally go on to university, compared with 43 per cent of all children. We need to help make a difference to every one of our looked-after children in Calderdale by enhancing their educational potential – whatever that may be.”
He said the charity would try to bridge the gap created by an often difficult start in life.
“We can create more opportunities to redress the balance between the life chances of looked-after children and all children, and improve not just a statistic – but their lives.”
If it was possible to attract 14 ‘founder funders’ prepared to give £250 it would be possible to start an educational The Letterbox Club for those aged seven and eight.
Each child will receive six parcels of specially selected books and maths games every month.
“This has already proven to bring many positive benefits, including the vital development of reading and numeracy skills.
“Another six donations will bring in £5,000 required for TLC to become a registered charity.”
It is also hoped to buy craft kits to encourage creativity among infants, to pay for residential weekends to help children prepare for transition from primary to secondary school and burseries for them to buy such things as tools to begin apprenticeships, or to go on voluntary projects abroad.
Further details about the charity and how to make donations are available on 01484 711260.