Spurgeons Children’s Charity has appointed Ian Soars as the new chief executive. His primary objective will be to drive forward the charity’s mission, inspired by the Christian faith, to give the increasing number of vulnerable children in the UK support that will equip them to thrive in their homes, communities and schools.
There are 2.9 million1 children in England living in families with substantial complex needs and over half of these children have no established, recognised form of additional support. Part of the government’s strategy to more effectively support these children and parents is through community family hubs such as the children and family centres run by organisations like Spurgeons.
But it also means galvanising communities to offer support services for local people. Spurgeons already run family hubs across the country and the aim is to launch many more within needy communities, whether that’s in prisons, churches, children’s centres or schools. The charity’s new strategy, which Soars will be spearheading, is to work alongside and equip the UK Church to grow in both confidence and ability to play a central role in these family hubs.
“There is no doubt that when Covid hit, the Church stepped up to provide much-needed spiritual and practical support, especially in many of our deprived communities. The reality we’re facing as a nation is that too many children are still falling through the gaping holes that exist in the system. There just aren’t enough charities or properly resourced statutory services in the country to meet their increasing needs.
“This is another crossroads moment for us, as Christians, to re-discover how we view our role in the community. I know of church leaders who feel out of their depth with some really vulnerable children and families and decide to pull-back. But Spurgeons is ready to come alongside and practically support church families in the good work they have already started. I am looking forward to working in my new role, alongside a talented and committed team and with new partners, in taking the next steps to raise the level and expectation of the support vulnerable children require and receive.”
Soars was previously the CEO of Fegans, a children’s charity championing mental health, for seven years before it was acquired by Spurgeons in July 2021. Soars joined the Spurgeons executive team, heading up special projects, including the parent and school counselling services offered by Fegans. He takes over from deputy chief executive Paul Ringer who stepped in as Interim CEO after the previous CEO, Ross Hendry, took up a new position at CARE in October 2021 Soars also brings 18-years’ experience at recruitment experts Hays, driving large contract design and delivery.
Andrew Caplen, the Spurgeons Chair of Board of Trustees, says,
Ian combines a wealth of experience in both the business and charity sector, with a real passion for equipping and leading his team to best serve children and families who are struggling. We recognise the team at Spurgeons and Fegans have gone through a lot of change in the last six months and honour their dedication to serving the children and families we work with. We are excited to have someone at the helm who will be able to continue to unite and inspire our teams in our shared mission. Ian is also a strong believer in the need to work more with church and community partners to see the necessary, sustainable changes that will give more children a hope and a future.
To learn more, or to partner with Spurgeons Children’s Charity, to help give the growing number of vulnerable children and young people a home life that is loving, peaceful and safe, go to www. spurgeons.org and visit @SpurgeonsUK on social media.
Written By: Hollyanne Boyce