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Quarriers in bid to find new image

By Katie Smith, Evening Times 24/06/03

A WELFARE charity dogged by cases of sexual abuse against children in its care is rebranding itself in a bid to improve its image.

Quarriers, which is based near Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, has launched a campaign to shed its historic image of a charity primarily concerned with destitute street children.

The move follows two high-profile child sex abuse cases and is aimed at increasing public awareness of the work it does in other sectors of the community.

Bosses of the charity, which is one of the largest of its kind in the country, hope the campaign will help attract more funding.

In a bid to tackle the popular perception of Quarriers as concerned solely with orphaned or street children, the campaign will highlight its work with adults and youngsters affected by poverty, learning difficulties and epilepsy.

As it runs 70 support projects across Scotland, the charity also wants to shed its image as a solely west of Scotland charity and expand into Edinburgh.

It follows two cases of sexual abuse by carers against children hit the headlines. In 2001, former house parent Samuel McBrearty was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow of raping and molesting two girls.

The following year, housecarer John Porteous was jailed for eight years - at the age of 69 - for offences against two boys in the 1960s and 70s.

Charity chief executive Phil Robinson said the campaign followed a survey that found most people associated Quarriers with orphans or the abuse cases.

He said: "We felt that Quarriers is not as well-known as it should be and we are keen to get across what we actually do.

"We did some market research which showed that only the professional audience in areas where we were working had an accurate perception of what the organisation is all about.

"In other areas, people either thought of us as 'the orphan homes of Scotland' or of the historic abuse cases.

"We thought it was important to introduce some balance."

Quarriers was set up in 1871 to find homes for destitute Glasgow street children.

It is the third largest care charity in Scotland, employing 1300 people.

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