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  • 5 minutes
  • 08/08/2023

Children and Families Across Borders: How our volunteers are making good go further

Volunteering and in-kind services are impactful and accessible ways to deliver Social Value - as Social Value Portal's partnership with Children and Families Across Borders demonstrates. Read on to learn about the good this collaboration is driving for families around the world.

For almost 70 years, Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB) has supported children and families that have been separated across borders by conflict, trafficking, climate change, and other international challenges.

Social Value Portal recently kicked off a volunteering partnership with CFAB, lending essential resource and support for upskilling in key areas. Here, we’ll look at the highlights of this collaboration and give some top tips for optimising your own Social Value impact.

Introducing Children and Families Across Borders

Children and Families Across Borders was established in the aftermath of World War II to help resettle refugees and assist children separated from their families by war and political instability.

The need for CFAB’s services has sadly persisted since, driven by numerous challenges. Recent research has shown that nearly 100,000 children in the UK have suffered separation from their families and been taken into care. Many of these children have family in other countries who can care for them.

Today, CFAB is the only UK charity with an international children’s social work team. It is also the only UK member of the International Social Service (ISS) network. Comprised mostly of social support professionals, the organisation works with the vast majority of local authorities in the UK.

How Social Value Portal is supporting CFAB’s mission

Having a positive societal impact is central to Social Value Portal’s business model – but we are also committed to making good go further outside of our core operations.

Volunteering is a major opportunity to do this, and we jumped at the chance to help CFAB carry out its critical work. The collaboration has spanned numerous areas, including:

  • Digital: A few years after adopting Salesforce, CFAB found that the system needed updates to reflect its now more sophisticated approach to data analysis. Social Value Portal’s Salesforce specialists lent their expertise, creating more efficient case management systems and data capture and analysis.
  • Employee culture: Social Value Portal’s Head of People and Culture has worked with CFAB to address high employee turnover – a significant challenge due to shortages in the social service sector as a whole – and enhance employee engagement.
  • Client management: With no in-house business development capabilities, CFAB has leveraged the expertise of Social Value Portal’s commercial teams to drive an improved approach to client management.

The partnership lets our people expand the good they can do, while giving CFAB access to valuable expertise, resource, and upskilling opportunities.

Carolyn Housman, CEO of Children and Families Across Borders, commented:

Our partnership with Social Value Portal has been amazing. All the teams have been helpful, patient, and flexible. They have supported us in some fundamental areas, getting to know us, our needs, and systems. The partnership is proving very impactful and will enable us to help more families and children.

Carolyn Housman, CEO of Children and Families Across Borders
Carolyn Housman, CEO of Children and Families Across Borders

Social Value Portal’s volunteers found the collaboration equally enjoyable and impactful. Sophie Amato, Head of People and Culture at Social Value Portal, said:

Partnering with CFAB has been a humbling experience. I’ve been working closely with their team to strengthen aspects of their internal functions. It’s always great to positively contribute to an organisation using your everyday skillset, but when the results help the people who support children and families, you see it differently. It’s a meaningful partnership with high impact, and one I’ve been proud to be a part of.

Andy Rouse, Social Value Portal’s Head of Salesforce Development, has found volunteering with CFAB equally rewarding. He commented:

I started working with the team at CFAB a few months ago, looking at their processes, data needs, automations, and more. It’s been a real pleasure to be able to use the skills that I apply in my job day-to-day to help a charity to work more effectively. In fact, leveraging that knowledge in a new environment has helped me to learn at the same time, so it’s been a win-win.

What’s Next for CFAB?

As it approaches its 70th anniversary, CFAB is as busy as ever. Significant developments are underway in the UK, from the Illegal Migration Bill becoming an act, to ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

With a tougher environment beckoning, resources are likely to diminish, making partnerships and in-kind support crucial for charities. Learn more about how you can support Children and Families Across Borders today.

How can you deliver (and benefit from) Social Value?

Social Value facilitates the measurement and improvement of social, economic, and environmental impact across the public, private, and third sectors.

Of course, it can be hard to know where to start, especially for smaller organisations with limited resources. But, as our CEO Guy Battle recently highlighted, Social Value is for everyone – and there are countless ways to deliver it.

Carolyn drew upon her years of experience to provide two pieces of advice for organisations looking to take their first Social Value steps:

Firstly, collaborate and seek advice from others who have already achieved success in Social Value. Don’t lose resource duplicating something that already exists; instead, join forces. Secondly, incorporate Social Value throughout your organisation. Make it a strategic priority, driven by leadership, and reflected in all your operations.

Ready to start your Social Value journey?

Social Value doesn’t just help our society flourish – it will also help your organisation thrive, whether you’re looking to win work from clients, or build a more sustainable, socially responsible supply chain.

To learn what Social Value is and why it matters, check out our Social Value 101 Toolkit.