Guest Blog: Meet an NCVO member – Ormiston Children and Families Trust

will_fordhamThis is a guest blog by Will Fordham, Communications Manager for the Ormiston Children & Families Trust. Ormiston is a charity committed to making young lives better for children & families across the East of England. Last year, Ormiston spent 98% of its money directly on support for over 135,000 young people and their families.

A new case study on the social value of Ormiston’s Children’s Centres can be viewed on our Public Services policy page, along with information about The Public Services (Social Value) Act.

What’s the problem?

Some children face prejudice because of their race, religion, sexuality, gender or disability, having a parent or carer in prison or due to their social situation. Many young people and children experience social exclusion for these reasons.

What does Ormiston do?

Founded in 1981, Ormiston is a children’s charity which operates in the East of England. We provide services to support children and young people from disadvantaged communities that face the dangers of social exclusion.

Here at Ormiston we have a new, cross-East Anglia fundraising team, who raise funds for ‘uncommon’ causes. We are brave enough to go where other charities fear to tread, dealing with extreme social issues of which many people are unaware.

What projects and services do we run?

We run children’s centres commissioned by local authorities in the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire regions, which provide mainstream services such as day-care facilities and special needs support. We also go the extra mile in providing outreach programmes for specific communities, such as the local Polish communities or the Gypsy and Traveller community. To read more about our work in this area, and how it demonstrates social value, please read NCVO’s case study.

Ormiston also delivers a range of evidence-based parenting programmes for the parents and carers of teenagers in central Norwich. Our ‘Keeping Families Warm’ project offers home-based support and advice for families affected by fuel poverty and advice on all aspects of energy efficiency and fuel poverty. And our “Silent Links” outreach project aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding imprisonment and its impact, through professional training and workshops for young people.

Do we do anything else?

Ormiston also carries out a ‘niche’ area of work to help those children who are exposed to the effects of imprisonment at various stages of their life: from a time when a parent or carer may be imprisoned to attempting to establish contact through regular prison visits through to offending themselves. In fact, two thirds of boys with a parent in prison will go on to offend in later life.

So to address the effects of imprisonment on children, we currently have over 40 community and prison-based projects across six counties, helping to ‘make young lives better’, working in schools, children’s centres and with families in their homes to give them the support they need. Last year we helped over 135,000 children and their families and enabled over 14,000 children visit their father or other relative in prison.

Ormiston works in a number of prisons around the East of England. Our friendly, welcoming visitor centres offer signposting to advice and support for children, young people and families affected by imprisonment. Services on offer include children’s visits, bonding sessions, family liaison and accredited parenting courses. Our outreach workers offer local support to families and at a number of prisons and we also run a project which allows fathers to record stories read aloud onto DVDs for their children.

How effectively do we use our funding?

From 2011 to 2012, Ormiston Children & Families Trust:

  • Received £5.74m as incoming resources from grant-making trusts, statutory and public grants, income received through our work and other generated funds.
  • Spent £5m on supporting children & families through the difficulties they faced, providing help through various means, including ‘Family Intervention Projects’.

Will Fordham

For more information on Ormiston’s work, please visit

NCVO Policy Team’s blog

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