Mayor backs £2.2m children’s homes venture

A £2.2m not-for-profit venture to build 10 children’s homes across Liverpool city region is set to secure £800,000 from Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. Tony McDonough reports

Children, girls, play, happy
There are more than 80,000 children in car across England. Stock picture


A not-for-profit venture is aiming to build 10 children’s homes across Liverpool city region in the next five years.

We Are Juno CIC was established in Liverpool in 2020. Its aim is to disrupt the model for children’s homes. It will create opportunities for children to stay close to their local area and remove high profits from the system.

A Competition and Markets Authority analysis of Children’s Social Care found that large providers of care were making “materially higher profits” and charging “materially higher prices” than is necessary for the functioning market. There are currently more than 80,000 children in care in England.

To provide an alternative to the “broken” system, We Are Juno is proposing an ‘alternative social value model’. This will see it lease properties, charge a ‘cost-plus’ price per child and generate a proportionate surplus to reinvest in further homes.

Since its launch We Are Juno has so far been funded through £625,000 of charitable investments from the National Lottery, the KPMG Foundation and the Segelman Trust.

It needs £2.2m to start building the homes, meet initial running costs and establish the management structure. So far it has secured a £1m Wirral Council loan and £400,000 from local social investors. It is now looking to secure the remaining £800,000 from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.

Originally the plan was to start building the first children’s home in Wirral in early 2022 and open this autumn. However, this has now been pushed back to early 2023, initially creating 57 jobs.

The first two homes are planned for Oxton and Wallasey. Additional properties have also been identified in Sefton and Halton. We Are Juno is backed by Capacity, an investor in social enterprises.

Capacity director, Sophie Clarke, is the strategic lead for We Are Juno. She said: “There are very few not-for-profit homes in the Liverpool city region, and very few across the country.


Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram. Picture by Tony McDonough


“It’s a sector dominated by profit-making organisations. So we’ve created Juno as a way to really disrupt this and help create quality and not-for-profit alternatives for children.   Further funding from the CA will help us do just that and build homes that have been led and shaped by the voices of care-experienced young people.”

City region Metro Mayor Rotheram will ask the Combined Authority to approve the £800,000 needed to make the project a reality. He added: “Every child deserves the chance to grow up in a loving family with a safe, secure home to call their own.

READ MORE: Metro Mayor commits £17.7m to Marine Lake

“Yet, for some young people in our community, situations beyond their control can mean they find themselves living outside their family home for extended periods of time. When that happens, I want to make sure we can provide them with the reassurance of knowing they won’t need to leave their local area.

“Working with Juno and our local councils, we want to build a safety net that will mean a child’s life is disrupted as little as possible by making sure they don’t need to move school, or move away from their friends, at a time when they need stability the most.”

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