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Spotlight on... NYAS

The first charity we'll look at this month is NYAS and how a legacy has helped to keep their children's Helpline open.

A national advocacy Helpline to support children in care was kept open after losing grant funding thanks to a legacy gift. Birkenhead based charity, NYAS (formerly the National Youth Advocacy Service) operates a six day a week Helpline providing much needed information and referrals for vulnerable children and young people who may be in care, subject to child protection plans, disabled or experience poor mental health.

As well as taking calls directly from children and young people, the Helpline takes referrals from social workers and other professionals as well as relatives and foster carers. Many of the calls are about child protection, children in care wanting to contact siblings, placement moves and helping young people to have a say when important decisions are being made about them.

Local authority funding was cut for the Helpline which employs eight specialist staff and handles over 21,000 calls a year. But fortunately the charity was left a substantial amount of money in a Will from somebody who had worked in the legal profession.

This gift was enough to keep the Helpline open whilst replacement funding was found through a grant from the Big Lottery and a contract with the Department of Education.

Bob Towers, the Fundraiser for NYAS, said: "The Helpline is a life line for some of the most vulnerable children and young people in society. Our advisers are trained advocates and can help resolve a lot of issues over the phone. If not, they can give young people access to a local advocate in their area who can make sure that their views are known and taken into account. After the loss of grant funding the Helpline was close to closing and the legacy we were given just gave us that breathing space we needed to find new funding. A legacy gift can make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people in need."

If you would like to know how a gift in your Will could help children in the future, you can contact Bob Towers on 0151 646 8700 or email Robert.towers@nyas.net

You can find out more about the work of the NYAS Helpline by visiting their website at www.nyas.net/helpline or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NYAS.YP