2010 Learning to Strut
KIDS merged with STRUT to become KIDS Strut in 2010.
KIDS has always had a policy of joining forces with like-minded organisations whose ethos and expertise complement our own.
In the summer of 2010 we merged with Strut, a charity that has served the needs of children in Lincolnshire for over 25 years, forming KIDS Strut. Strut was founded by Dr Carol Millns, a consultant pediatrician who had worked extensively with children with learning difficulties. Together with a small group of trustees, Dr Millns founded the charity in May 1981, initially to provide residential care. STRUT was first backed, then taken over by social services, which is when it branched out into providing after-school clubs, playgroups and occasional holidays.
In February 2010, during discussions with KIDS about a joint tender, it soon became apparent that closer affiliation had benefits for both organisations as well as for the families they supported. There were several reasons for this, not least the recent economic climate which has seen some councils slashing up to 66% of their funding for local voluntary groups, as well as a downturn in personal and corporate donations that had affected both (and indeed most) charities. KIDS Strut will continue to function as a locally directed charity providing short breaks to disabled young people and families in Lincolnshire.
The merger offered benefits of scale and competency to both organisations. It allowed STRUT to bid for larger local or national contracts where perhaps a smaller charity might find itself at a disadvantage. It also allowed STRUT to increase the range of services it offered; for instance, drawing on KIDS' experience of younger age-groups to allow it to address the needs of a pre-school audience. Merging also made good sense to KIDS, allowing it to bid for local Lincolnshire contracts as well as national projects like Children in Need, which only allow an organisation to submit one bid. KIDS also has much to learn from STRUT's successful retail model of eight charity shops, which have provided a consistent source of direct funding through the recession.
Today, STRUT continues to provide support to over 150 children in the area, allowing them time and space to explore their interests, make friends and express themselves in a secure environment, overseen by supportive and highly experienced staff. And of course, it allows parents to have space for themselves and benefit from the shared experience of others.