Bfriends - Trust launches its own charity

Bfriends logo
The logo was designed by young adults with care experience.
Published: 29th Apr 2021

The Trust now has its very own charity - Bfriends - Friends of Birmingham Children's Trust. Find out more...

Let’s Bfriends with the Friends of Birmingham Children’s Trust

Celebrations are taking place this week following the launch of Birmingham Children’s Trust’s official charity, Bfriends, formally known as the Friends of Birmingham Children’s Trust.

The charity is the culmination of over three years of incredible support and kindness from city partners, businesses and members of the local community who have donated items and volunteering time and provided incredible opportunities for children, young people and families, all done with an unwavering partnership spirit, especially during a global pandemic.

A virtual launch was held on Thursday 29 April 2021 to mark the launch of Bfriends. The virtual launch saw the unveiling of the Bfriends logo. You can watch a short video below to see the logo unveiled.

The background

The Trust identified with its lead corporate parenting partners in 2019 that if a good offer was to be developed and sustained for children in care, care leavers and young people known to the Trust -  and building on the work that had been undertaken - a partnership charity would enable this groundswell of positive activity to develop further and wider.

Bfriends trustees

  • The Bfriends charity has a board of twelve trustees who are lead partners from across the city, representing organisations that have worked alongside the Trust for a number of years, some even before its inception, to develop incredible ideas into reality.
  • Two trustee roles have been given to young adults, and the co-chair role is being undertaken by a young adult with care experience, Abba Loughran.
  • Young trustees will also work alongside the charity’s other co-chair, Lee Yale-Helms (Director of Finance & Resources at the Trust), to ensure the voice of children and young people remain at the centre of the charity’s decision-making.
  • In addition, another young adult will be joining as trustee in May 2021.

Lee Yale-Helms, co-chair of Bfriends, said: “The launch of Bfriends represents a ground breaking moment.  It is truly a unique partnership of the Trust and representatives of the business and sporting community working together to create more life opportunities for our children and young people. I am proud to work alongside our young ambassadors and be involved in the setup of this new charity in Birmingham.”

Abba Loughran, co-chair of Bfriends, said: “We consulted widely, asking what the key things are that children and young people feel are important about what we do as a Trust and that our network of partners provide.

“Young adults told us friendship and having someone there for you, be it on the end of a phone, checking you are ok, talking things through, being kind, and thinking of others during a difficult time are what they want, and with their support that helped us to come up with the name Bfriends.

“We have also worked with young adults to develop our logo and branding. They came up with the idea of the logo, and the colours, especially the purple, which is a favourite of members of our Children in Care Council. The butterfly on the logo was the idea of one of our young adults. They wanted a symbol to represent the transformation and freedom that a butterfly has, which includes the transition into something new and beautiful.

“Together we aspire for every young person or adult to have a good friendship in their life. The core value of Bfriends is to ensure we can support the creation and development of friendships, ones with trust, longevity and true meaning.”

Supporting children, young people and families during the pandemic

During the global pandemic Trust staff have been working very closely with young people, young adults, families, business partners and the community, providing support both virtually and physically through the setting up and delivery of various support hubs.

We recognised very quickly that we needed to work differently but effectively to meet the needs of the young people adults and families known to the Trust.

This work has resulted in a huge amount of support from partners, businesses and the community.

The Trust has worked with a network of over 100 partners in the last year which has resulted in 18,500 plus bespoke gifts, food items and baby parcels being donated and distributed. Over 900 hours of volunteering time has been donated by partners working with us to ensure we could develop this offer and reach those children, young people and families most in need of support.

What has happened to date?

The shadow trustees have already had four meeting to date. Six lead areas of focus have been collectively agreed for the next two years (2021 – 2023), focusing on the children, young people and adult care leavers Birmingham Children’s Trust supports.

The six key areas of focus for Bfriends are:

  • A city-wide volunteering offer
  • Employability and employment pathways
  • A life skills and transition into independence programme
  • An inclusive digital platform
  • The 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, legacy and wellbeing
  • Fundraising activities