Petition to save Thai orphanage

 The Pattaya Orphanage. which has cared for orphaned, abandoned and destitute babies and children in Thailand for more than 20 years, is under threat of closure, after the local diocese evicted the religious order that runs it, together with dozens of volunteer workers, on 1 January. The UK-based Pattaya Orphanage Trust, which is the main single funder of the orphanage has been forced to stop funding because the diocese has not signed an agreement on child protection and funding to comply with UK charity law. Now that the staff and volunteers have left, the Trust does not know how the orphans are being cared for. The charity's director, Andrew Scadding said: "Usually there are about 40 volunteers available, many of whom work in the baby room and with children under the age of 3. The few paid staff there couldn't manage without them." Dr Jim Richards, director of the Catholic Children's Society Westminster, expressed concern for the welfare of the children, saying: "With children as young as these it is vital that there is continuity of care. Any change can cause huge distress now and great problems in later life." Mr Scadding together with Fr Marcus Stock, Director of Education in Birmingham Diocese, and a trustee of the charity are meeting Fr Weera on 12 February to discuss the future of the Orphanage. Fr Stock said: "Our first priority must be the welfare of all the children that we sponsor. I sincerely hope our meeting will enable that support to be continued. For more information and to sign a petition calling for the diocese to meet with the Trust and come to an agreement so that they can continue their work, please visit: www.pattayaorphanage.org.uk