13 Jan 2014

Welcome to Voice magazine

A very warm welcome to Voice. Whether you donate, fundraise, campaign or volunteer with us, we couldn’t make the difference we do without you. Your ongoing support is crucial and, in this issue, you’ll get a taste of how it can change young lives.

2014 is shaping up to be a very important year as we uncover the very real impact growing up in poverty has on children. Thanks to The Children’s Commission on Poverty, launched in October, we are learning just how devastating living below the poverty line can be.

Find out on pages 10 and 11 how the commission, a panel of 15 young people, is leading an investigation into what childhood poverty really looks like – through young eyes.

Chris’s story on page 4 highlights how important it is to support children, whether they are aged six or 16. Experiencing trust and hope at this formative stage of life can make a huge difference to the futures of neglected teenagers up and down the country.

I hope that you enjoy this issue, and thank you once again for your continued generosity. It means everything to the children we support.

With kind regards

Matthew Reed

Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

Contents of this issue

How your support helped ChrisThe story of how one young man overcame his difficult past with your help.

News round-upAn update on what’s happening around the organisation.

What does poverty look  like through young eyes? Launch of The Children’s Commission on Poverty.

Facts and figuresTen facts about poverty.

The way I see itProfessor of Social Policy  at Bath University, Tess Ridge, shares her views on childhood poverty.

Our storiesWhy 15 young people want to open up the debate on childhood poverty.

What we doOur children’s centres: giving children a better start in life.

Helping Katarina’s family out of poverty When bureaucracy pushed one family into poverty.

A day in the life of...Volunteer intern, Parama Chakravorty, tells us why she gives her time to support our campaigning.

Tea for twoX Factor finalist, Misha B, talks about growing up in Manchester.

Teenage neglect: past, present, futureHow The Children’s Society has worked with neglected teenagers for the past 132 years.

Now and then  – The inventive ways our supporters have been raising  money and new opportunities to get involved.

Corporate partnersTwo new companies join forces with us to help disadvantaged children.

Shop ‘til you drop  – Our retail empire is growing with new shops opening all the time.

 

How your support helped Chris

It’s only because of the generosity of our supporters that we can help young people like Chris, who tells his story here.

I’ve been through hell since I was small. I come from a home where there were problems with both domestic and alcohol abuse, and we moved house a lot.

I’ve been through things and seen things not even adults should have seen.

I got into a lot of trouble at home and at school because of my extreme behaviour and emotional issues.  

I've been through hell since I was small

When I was 12 I was tested for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and mental health problems they suspected were because of my childhood. And because of my low self-esteem and lack of confidence, I always felt angry.  It was hard for me to get on with others.

My learning support mentor referred me to The Children’s Society youth inclusion programme. I started going to their regular football sessions and made loads of friends. Something I can’t do in my local area because you can’t go out or ever feel safe due to the constant fights and robberies.

I took part in other activities too and had regular support sessions with my mentor, who I knew I could trust to talk to about any worries or issues I had at home and at school.

For the past three years The Children’s Society has helped me and my family with all sorts of problems and now things are finally looking up.

You can help young people like Chris

If you want to help more young people like Chris to turn their lives around, then please give us your support by donating via our website at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/give or calling Supporter Care on 0300 303 7000. 

 

News round-up

Our news roundup captures stories from our campaigning, our project work, fundraising and more.

DO something

Our new fundraising initiative ‘DO something’ launches next month (February 2014) with the aim of inspiring as many people as possible to raise money for our work in as many different ways as they can think of.

We’ve created ‘The DO-ers guide to doing’, which is full of ideas to encourage people to organise their own fundraising event on our behalf. Whether you want to go-it- alone or enlist the help of your family, friends and community, suggestions in the guide include such diverse events as a car wash, dinner party, 70s-style disco, quiz and a karaoke evening.

A range of resources has been produced to accompany the guide and to help you tailor your event: from balloons and posters, to invites and sponsorship forms.

We’re doing all we can to help children living in poverty and at risk of serious harm.

What will you DO?

Please register for your freeDO-ers guide online at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/DOit or call our Supporter Care team on 0300 303 7000.

Our annual Edward Rudolf Lecture

‘What’s theology got to do with children’s welfare?’ asked Canon Dr Angus Ritchie, Director of the Contextual Theology Centre, in our seventh annual Edward Rudolf Lecture held towards the end of last year. 

The speech drew on ‘The Heart of the Kingdom’, our essays on Christian theology and children living in poverty. Canon Ritchie discussed how theology is not only deeply relevant to how we treat children and young people, but how this should be exciting and accessible.

Both the text of the lecture and ‘The Heart of the Kingdom’ publication are available at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-views/our-blog/whats-theology-got-do-childrens-welfare

Sweet Treats

The Children’s Society is working in partnership with Sweet Treat Donations to distribute and sell a range of sweet and savoury snacks, supplied in our own- branded honesty boxes. So far we have franchisees in Surrey, Kent, Southport, Liverpool, Manchester and Leicestershire.

For each £1 snack bag sold we receive 67% of the net profit which will be used to support our work with vulnerable children.

Sweet Treats Donations can also set you up with hassle-free snacks in your workplace in support of The Children’s Society – and the best bit is that it won’t cost you a thing! Your local Sweet Treat Donations’ agent collects the money every few weeks and replenishes stock to ensure you’ve always got a good supply of snacks.

If you’re interested in knowing more, call Sweet Treats on 07976 628028.

Historic changes for young carers

There are over 165,000 children in England caring for parents, siblings and family members. Our recent Hidden from View report revealed that many young carers don’t receive the support they need.

 It also affects young carers’ educational performance and they achieve lower grades than their peers at GCSE.

Citing our influential report on the long-term impact caring responsibilities can have on young carers, the government announced significant changes to legislation to make sure that young carers do not fall through the gaps between children and adult services.

Without you it wouldn’t be Fair and Square

We’re delighted with the government’s decision to extend free school meals to all children aged 5–7 years old.

This is a significant step forward for our Fair and Square campaign and means that, from September 2014, 1.4 million more children will get a free school meal – including 200,000 children living in poverty.

Our grateful thanks goes to everyone who supported our Fair and Square campaign.

This important financial support of £400 per child will not only lift 25,000 children out of poverty but also means that children seeking asylum may now, for the first time, get a hot meal every day.

Investing in volunteers

Volunteers have always been vital to our work and, for a long time, we’ve known that we have an inspirational and powerful volunteering programme.

Now the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has recognised this by awarding us the prestigious Investing in Volunteers accreditation last October. This highlights the quality of volunteer involvement across The Children’s Society and the impact it has on what we do.

The accreditation, which involved 195 face-to-face and telephone interviews with our volunteers across the country, tells us and all of the partners and communities we work with,  that we have a volunteering programme which meets the very highest standards. It highlights that our volunteers go through a robust recruitment procedure, have a full induction and training and are recognised for their incredible efforts.

Matthew Reed, our Chief Executive, said:

‘The accreditation confirms that our volunteers feel engaged with the charity, are proud to volunteer for us and feel a part  of our mission. We, in turn, are equally proud of them.’

So, a huge thank you to the tens of thousands of you who share your time, energy and skills to support our work. Without you, we quite simply couldn’t change the lives of the children, young people and families that we do.

Find out more about other ways to get involved in volunteering for us at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/volunteer

Christingle celebrations light up young lives

Thousands of Christingle celebrations took place all over the country and even further afield at the end of last year. We’re very grateful to everyone who organised or attended a Christingle. The amazing total raised so far is already helping to light up the lives of children and young people suffering through poverty and neglect.  

Events will be happening into February, so please keep up your support for Christingle.

You’ll be in good company too, as TV personalities Alan Titchmarsh, Eamonn Holmes and his wife Ruth Langsford have all lent us their support over the Christingle season.

Find out more about Christingle and where your local celebrations are taking place at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/oranges

Who Benefits?

We’ve joined up with Crisis, Gingerbread, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mind to talk about the truth about who gets benefits, why they need it and the difference it makes. The ‘Who Benefits?’ campaign shares the real stories of people who receive benefits.

Hundreds of people who have been supported by benefits have already shared their stories on the website and social media with the hashtag #WeAllBenefit.

Visit the www.whobenefits.org.uk/voice website for more information and to share your story and support the campaign.

Supporter survey prizewinners

Thanks to the thousands of supporters who completed the Supporter Survey enclosed with the autumn issue of Voice.

The winners were: (postal) Mr P Nash, Gloucestershire, 1st; Miss E Skinner, Avon, 2nd; Mrs C Gulliver, Berkshire, 3rd; (digital) Reverend E Shearcroft, London, 1st; Mr G Owenson, Fife, 2nd; Mrs J Boyle, Oxfordshire, 3rd.

Care arrangements for trafficked children

All too often poor responses from government agencies make the difficulties and confusion faced by trafficked children far worse.

We recently conducted a review – commissioned by the Home Office – of the care arrangements for trafficked children in partnership with the Refugee Council. This highlighted key areas for improvement to help keep these vulnerable children safe.

The government is currently looking at what is needed to tackle human trafficking in the forthcoming Modern Slavery Bill.

This is a great opportunity for politicians to take action to ensure child victims of trafficking receive the protection they need and for all unaccompanied children to have an independent guardian to look out for their welfare.

Say something if you see something

In partnership with the National Working Group Network we have developed a national toolkit to help the hotel industry tackle child sexual exploitation. This was launched in Parliament and endorsed by Damian Green MP, the minister responsible for tackling child sexual exploitation.

The campaign started in one of our Streetwise programmes in Coventry. Many young people there talked about ‘going to hotel parties’ – where there would be a lot of alcohol and drugs, and men who subsequently sexually assaulted them – when they went missing.

The ‘Say something if you see something’ toolkit enables groups and campaigners to develop resources and activities locally.

It includes materials such as leaflets, posters and training resources for hotel staff.

Buy a Real Easter Egg this year 

Of the 80 million Easter Eggs sold in the UK last year, not one of them mentioned the real story of Easter – until the Real Easter Egg came along.

When you’re planning for Easter, please see the Traidcraft brochure enclosed with your magazine for ordering details of the Real Easter Egg, as well as refreshments for your church, school or workplace.

All purchases made via www.childrenssociety.traidcraftshop.co.uk website carry a 10% donation to The Children’s Society from Traidcraft. 

 

What does poverty look like through young eyes?

For over 130 years The Children’s Society has worked with the most disadvantaged children to help them have a good childhood and the opportunity to flourish in life. At the heart of our work is a commitment to listen to children, to hear and respond to their concerns, and to understand first-hand what more could be done to give them a better life.

There are over three million children living in poverty in the UK today. The result of their early deprivation means they face greater difficulties and have fewer aspirations in later life than their peers. And yet, while living standards seem set to be a key battleground in the next general election, the voices of children are largely absent from the debates on poverty.

We have set up The Children’s Commission on Poverty to ensure children’s views are at the heart of these debates. And we’re asking all our supporters to share the commission’s progress and findings with their family, friends and communities.

The voices of children are largely absent from the debates on poverty  

Children will not only be able to share with us their personal account of their experiences of poverty, but will also suggest powerful ways in which their lives could be improved.

Over the next year, the commission will explore children’s attitudes to poverty and discover what it means for them to live in families desperately struggling to make ends meet. It will begin to ask what can be done to improve living standards for the most vulnerable young people in the country.

Many people are facing stark and unacceptable choices, like eat or heat

At the core of the commission is a panel of 15 young people who will direct the research that will be carried out to uncover the real experiences and thoughts of young people living in poverty.

At the commission’s launch in October, Matthew Reed, our Chief Executive, told a packed room at the House of Commons that ‘many people are facing stark and unacceptable choices, like eat or heat.’

Following him, one of the young commissioners, 16-year-old Yousif from north London said, ‘Child poverty is one of the gravest injustices to face the UK and we, on the young people’s panel, have gathered together to help combat it.’

We hope the commission will spark debate at all levels of society – in people’s homes, in their workplaces and across their everyday lives, as well as in government and the media.

If we are to tackle child poverty, first we must understand it. As a nation, we must learn to see life through young eyes.

You can follow the young commissioners on their journey and hear what they uncover and see life through young eyes at www.childrenscommission.org.uk

 

10 facts about poverty

Sam Royston, Policy Adviser at The Children's Society presents 10 facts about poverty based on official figures.

Since 1881 our charity has been committed to supporting children living in poverty. Although the details of poverty have changed since Victorian times, the repercussions of it are just as significant and we are as committed today to tackling child poverty as we ever have been.

That’s why we launched our Fair and Square campaign for all children in poverty to receive a free school meal, and it’s why we are now working to ensure that low income families receive some help to reduce their heating bills.

Official figures show that 3.5 million children live in poverty, a number that is set to rise in the coming years. We do not believe this is neither acceptable nor necessary, and we will continue to work towards a society that is free of child poverty.

1. 43% of children in lone parent households live in poverty compared to 22% in two parent families

2. More than 6 out of 10 children living in poverty are in working families on low incomes 

3. Children born into poor families are more likely to be born premature, have low birth weights and die in their first year of life

4. By 2020 one-in-three children in the UK will be living in poverty

5. Over half of all children in the UK who say they are in poverty live in homes that are too cold

6. Percentage of children living in poverty:

                    55% in Pakistani and Bangladeshi households

                    44% in Black or Black British households

                    25% in White households

7. A quarter of all children in the UK who say they are in poverty are living in damp or mould-ridden conditions

8. The proportion of children in poverty:  In 1979 it was 14% but in 2012 it was 27%

9. Children living in low-income households are nearly three times as likely to have mental health problems as their more affluent peers

10. Percentage of disabled children living in poverty once you take into account the costs of their disability: 40%

Source references for this information can be found on our website at: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/facts 

 

The way I see it

Professor Tess Ridge gives her view on the issue of childhood poverty and what can be done to address it.

Tess Ridge has been Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bath since 2000. Her main research interests are childhood poverty and social exclusion; particularly exploring the experience of poverty and disadvantage from the perspectives of children themselves. Professor Ridge is one of the adult mentors to The Children’s Commission on Poverty.

How was your Christmas? For the majority of families it’s usually  a time for celebration and fun. But while most children across the country enjoyed the festive season in warm houses and happy, secure environments, there are a substantial number of children who will have felt disappointed, insecure and uncertain about their futures.

The deepest cuts have been visited on some of the poorest children

After many years of research with children from low-income families, I am aware that the harsh hand of poverty is felt most keenly at times of celebration. Children try particularly hard to cover up from their friends and classmates that they will not be getting the gifts and delights expected by many of their peers at this time of the year.

These are hard times indeed; society is undergoing significant social and economic change as wider recession and economic crises are accompanied by ‘austerity’ policies and unprecedented cuts in welfare provision.

Sadly, the deepest cuts have been visited on some of the poorest children and their families. Parenting at such times is particularly stressful and demanding.

It is vital we listen to children’s experiences

All parents want the best for their children but, in this harsh economic climate, the poorest families are vulnerable to unemployment, employment insecurity, homelessness and instability.

It is vital under these conditions that we listen to children’s experiences and the issues that concern them, if we are to make a real difference in their lives.

I am, therefore, delighted that two new initiatives by The Children’s Society are set to play a significant role in our understanding of children’s lives as they negotiate these troubled times.

With this evidence we can start to make a real difference in children’s lives

The new Children’s Commission on Poverty (a panel of 15 children and teenagers from across England, ranging in age from 11 to 19) will provide us with valuable insight into children’s everyday lives and the challenges they face – through their own eyes.

The evidence from children and young people will also feed into the first, long-term study into low-income children’s lives in the UK. This ground-breaking research, listening to children over time, will follow a group of children from low-income families over a number of years as they negotiate their lives at school, home and in their neighbourhoods.

It will provide a unique insight into the challenges and demands that a low- income childhood can present for children.

I am sure that, with this evidence, we can start to make a real difference and improve children’s lives over the longer term.

Note

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinion of The Children’s Society.

You can help

Please help us to reach out to the ever-growing number of children and young people affected by these difficult economic times by visiting our donation page at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/give or contact our Supporter Care team.

 

Our stories

At the core of The Children’s Commission on Poverty are 15 young people, aged from 11 to 19, who will have a leading role in what the commission says and does over its 18-month journey. What made them get involved? Why are they giving up their free time to do this? And what do they think the commission can achieve? Here is what some of them said.

Writing in Through Young Eyes, the report presented at the launch of The Children’s Commission on Poverty in October, Gulwali from Bolton and, at 19, the oldest in the group, explained that he joined the panel ‘because it’s such a matter of urgency that we do something about this.’

He wrote that ‘the cycle of poverty needs to stop somewhere,’ and that he and the others on the commission wanted to persuade politicians and policy-makers that poverty is a priority. He hoped to ‘create an awareness that children do live in poverty’ and said he wants to ‘bridge the gap between children experiencing poverty and decision makers’.

Yousif, 16 and from north London, spoke at the launch in Parliament and his own contribution to the report reinforced Gulwali’s points, saying  that child  poverty was ‘not just an issue of statistics and figures’, but one that is ‘very  real’ and ‘affects the most helpless in our communities’.

Cyrus, 13, from Northwich said he hopes for ‘a better quality of life for children in poverty so they have a fair chance’ while Zara from the south-east thought they might be able to ‘discover new ways to put a stop to child poverty everywhere’.

All the young people were clear that it was not just them that needed to be heard, but all young people who are or have been in poverty. ‘I have experienced some aspects of poverty,’ said Luke, 16, from Littleborough, ‘Now I want to help other children and young people have a voice so that the government and services can be improved.’ And Olli, 16, from Winsford, commented that: ‘I have had enough problems of my own to understand others’.

While the leading concerns were about how their efforts could give other young people a voice, there was also recognition that being involved at the front line of this important project would help them as individuals too.

Sasha, 14, from London, said: ‘I also want to be on the commission because it will teach me new skills’. At the launch, she and many of the others were busy behind the scenes writing live blogs, taking pictures for the web and talking to MPs about the commission.

This is a diverse group of young people with the same range of interests as any group their age, including music and sport. What they also share, though, is a determination that the voices of children and young people in poverty must be heard.

Please follow the young commissioners on their journey to hear what they uncover and see life through young eyes at www.childrenscommission.org.uk

What you can do

You can help move more children and young people, and their families, out of poverty through your generous support. Please visit our donation page at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/give or contact our Supporter Care team on 0300 303 7000. 

 

What we do

Together we’re giving children a better start in life

Our children’s centres help families in a range of different (and difficult) circumstances. Without your generosity this wouldn’t be possible. For instance, when a mother and father lost their twin son, they found support from our centre in Oldham.

Losing a child can be one of the hardest things in life to bear. Danielle and David* know this only too well, having lost one of their twins when he was just eight months old.

Although devastated by their loss, they didn’t want their surviving daughter Emily to suffer.  Given the tragic circumstances, they especially wanted her to have other children to play with, and to meet other families so she could develop and flourish.

Emily and her parents attended fun and educational sessions

One of our children’s centres in Oldham was able to help.

Over a two-year period, both Emily and her parents benefited from a host of activities and sessions that helped them to learn and to smile again.

They enjoyed baby play and sensory activities to support Emily’s learning and development and help her prepare for school. They attended a baby clinic where her health needs were addressed.

Danielle took a 12-week Early Years Foundation course to help prepare Emily for going into childcare. She also had expert tuition at home to help embed all that Emily was learning.

As both parents worked, they were helped to find childcare – it was important to know they could leave Emily in safe and professional hands.

Two years on and the change in their daughter is notable.

‘Emily is a lot more sociable now, she spends more time using the activities and doesn’t move around as much,’ says Danielle.

It was important to know they could leave Emily in safe and professional hands

She is also developing a love of books.  One night Emily said, ‘Mummy, book please.’ Now Danielle reads to her at bedtime.

‘Emily was reading the book Oh Dear to herself one morning. She was saying all the words by herself and doing the animal noises. I couldn’t believe it! She is so happy when she does this.’

After all the family has been through, it’s great to see Emily grow in a warm, nurturing environment.

Note

*All names have been changed to protect identities.

Fighting childhood poverty through our children’s centres

We have over 40 children’s centres across England, helping families from all walks of life. The number is growing all the time. For families facing financial hardship, our centres ease the effects of poverty by supporting children to grow, learn and stay healthy. If parents are working, we supply them with high quality childcare so families can stay above the poverty line while their children thrive.

You can help

Children like Emily wouldn’t thrive without professional childcare. Help us to provide more places at our children’s centres by continuing your generous support, either via our donation page at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/give or by calling Supporter Care on 0300 303 7000. 

 

Helping Katarina’s family out of poverty

When bureaucracy pushed one family into poverty

Katarina desperately wanted to provide for her children, but bureaucracy pushed the family into poverty. Thanks to your support, they found a way out.

‘I live with my partner, my 13-year-old son, my two-year-old daughter and my new baby. When I was heavily pregnant, my partner was self-employed and he couldn’t find any more work to support us.

‘My baby was nearly due, so I had to leave my full-time job and my employer didn’t offer maternity pay. The only income we had for our whole family was £33 a week in Child Benefit.

‘My family was illegally evicted from our home. We couldn’t pay our bills or our council tax on time so we had many debts.

‘We went to The Children’s Society for help and they worked with us so we could support our family. They spoke to the housing association to make sure that we weren’t evicted from our temporary accommodation. They even helped to stop a £1,200 fine that my partner received from the tax office when he didn’t finish the self-employment paperwork on time because his English wasn’t good.

‘The only income we had for our whole family was £33 a week in Child Benefit.’

‘The Children’s Society even helped my teenage son – he took part in two national arts projects and made a film with 19 other young migrants, which taught him research and communication skills.’

Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to help many parents like Katarina, struggling with severe financial problems caused largely by lack of understanding. With your help, they avoid the spiral of debt and poverty, which blights so many children’s lives.

You can help

Please give us your support by donating via www.childrenssociety.org.uk/give or by calling Supporter Care on 0300 303 7000.

 

A day in the life of...

In this issue of Voice, we find out about a typical day for Parama Chakravorty, one of the interns volunteering in our head office.

One of the reasons I chose to volunteer for The Children’s Society campaigns team is because I’m really concerned about how disadvantaged children fall behind early on and can’t reach their full potential.

The team had a great victory recently when the Fair and Square campaign convinced the government to provide free school meals to many more children. This will make sure children living in poverty don’t go hungry at school – because hungry children can’t concentrate and learn.

In the team’s weekly meetings, we decide the best ways of making change for young people. Here we’re discussing what tactics will be most effective, what organisations may be good partners on a new campaign and what decision-makers have the power to make the changes we want to see.

The Children’s Commission on Poverty is really important to my research into youth activism, as it’s all about involving young people in the work of The Children’s Society. The Commission will give young people a voice to make sure their experiences of poverty are understood and their views heard.

At lunchtime I catch up with fellow interns. We all started volunteering on the same day, and have regular meetings to update each other on the progress of our projects. I’m explaining to them the importance of getting more young people actively involved in campaigning for change and how my work on youth activism is helping The Children’s Society to better support young people get their voices heard.

I use Twitter and other social media to get in contact with young campaigners. It allows us to communicate with young people, and make sure they have what they need to campaign.

I arrange interviews with youth activists and professionals who work with young people. I’m collecting ideas and advice to help young people speak out and push for change more effectively.

When young people speak out on issues that affect them, it has enormous potential to change minds and influence decision-makers.

More about Parama's role

Parama Chakravorty volunteers with our campaigns team based in Edward Rudolf House, London. This team leads and inspires supporters, organisations and other allies to campaign for big changes to improve the lives of children. 

The recent launch of The Children’s Commission on Poverty means Parama’s role is currently focused on finding ways to get children and young people more involved in campaigning for themselves.

Get involved

To find out more about The Children’s Commission on Poverty that Parama has been supporting at www.childrenscommission.org.uk.

Or if you’re interested in volunteering for us, visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/volunteer

 

Tea for two

X Factor finalist, Misha B, talks about growing up in Manchester

At the launch of The Children’s Society in Greater Manchester, we took the opportunity to chat to one of our celebrity supporters, X Factor finalist Misha B, over a cuppa.

First, who are you and why are you well-known?

My name is Misha B and I’m a British singer, songwriter and rapper who found fame on The X Factor.

Please tell us about your background.

I grew up in the Moss Side and Longsight areas of Manchester, so I saw first-hand the issues The Children’s Society is trying to deal with in the area. I was brought up by my aunt as my mum wasn’t able to be there  for me, so I can really identify with the young people I met at The Children’s Society’s Safe in the City project.

Why do you support The Children’s Society?

It really shocked me that over 150,000 children in Greater Manchester – and over half where I grew up in Moss Side – live in poverty. When I heard about this I immediately wanted to help. There is something wrong when, in 2013, these issues are now among the worst the charity has seen in its 120-year history working in this location. So I’m delighted they’re calling on organisations from across the area to work with them, and make the greatest possible impact on young lives.

What are you currently working on?

Myself! Every day I’m learning new things about myself as an individual and as an artist. This year I have been focusing my energy on my song-writing skills, studying different types of music and fashion, basically on my artistry as a whole.  The next project is the E.P entitled #ROOM303 and from there…. Well, you know I love fashion and I haven’t released my album yet.

Where’s your favourite place to go for tea? Why?

Oh, I’m not a heavy tea drinker. But I have stayed at various different hotels and every tea I have asked for has been quite a treat.

Who would you invite to join you for tea? Why?

I would invite maybe someone to make me laugh, say... Keith Lemon.  I think everyone needs a bit of Keith Lemon’s humour in their life, especially in the morning you need someone to boost you up, make you laugh and give you that extra spruce for the day.

What’s your favourite cake and why?

Victoria sponge cake. Classic and d-e-licious.

Our work in Manchester

Misha B is supporting a new initiative in Greater Manchester where there are 150,000 children living in poverty – among the highest rates in the country. The initiative will see ground-breaking solutions to the problems, with our services, shops, fundraising and campaigns working closer together under the banner of The Children’s Society in Greater Manchester.

Misha B grew up in the Moss Side and Longsight districts of the city. She said: ‘Young people living in Greater Manchester have aspirations just as I did and so much potential which is blighted by poverty. The Children’s Society’s new initiative provides a ray of hope to thousands of children and their families.’

We’ll be launching further community-based initiatives for children and young people in the West Midlands and Greater London later this year. If you live in those areas, please watch out for details.

Get involved in Bake and Brew

Next time you want to invite friends over for tea and cake, please remember that you can make it a Bake and Brew event in aid of vulnerable children and young people. Our annual Bake and Brew takes place at the beginning of September, but you can hold an event at any time of the year. Find out more about holding a Bake and Brew event at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/bake or contact our Supporter Care team on 0300 303 7000.

 

Teenage neglect: past, present, future

Today, many teenagers in our society face a bleak future. A shocking number are abandoned, abused or at risk of sexual exploitation. At best, they miss out on the support and nurture they need to flourish. This is why one of our key areas of work is to tackle the problem of teenage neglect. Thankfully (and because of the crucial donations from supporters like you) we have a rich history of pioneering service to young people in this area.

Helping runaways since 1881

Our work with neglected teenagers dates back more than a century. In our early days, we ran children’s homes across the country for vulnerable young people.

Children like Lily who, at 14, ran away from home in 1894 after her mother died, to escape the violent abuse of her drunken father.

She came to our St Chad’s home near Leeds, was taught a trade and finally went to live with her aunt to create a new life.

The 1980s and 90s 

Not only did we provide accommodation – we worked hard to gain young people’s trust, to find out why they had run away. By helping them resolve these problems, we tackled the issues at the root so that they could return home.

Back in 1985, we opened the Central London Teenage Project (CLTP), an innovative programme providing the UK’s first ever safe house and refuge to homeless young people living on the streets of London.

This caring approach has been at the heart of our work with young runaways ever since.

In 1990, CLTP grew to provide the first ever longer term accommodation for young runaways. Another safe house and refuge was opened in Leeds, and Safe in the City Manchester was launched in September that year, which continues to this day.

The present day

Sadly, children who run away today face many of the same problems as Lily did in the 19th century. Times may have changed but neglected teenagers need love, support and refuge as much as ever.

Many of our national projects – that you support – now work with teenagers at risk. We have 10 projects dedicated to helping young runaways, and our Make Runaways Safe campaign, launched in 2011, has influenced important changes to legislation – with enormous help from our supporters.

That support must continue. Thousands of young people need help now, but we cannot reach them without your generous support. If you’d like to donate please visit  www.childrenssociety.org.uk/give or call Supporter Care on 0300 303 7000.

 

Now and then

You’ll have seen from the news round-up blog that we’re about to launch our new fundraising campaign, DO something.

To give you a few ideas of what you can DO, here’s a selection of activities our wonderful supporters have been doing recently to raise money for disadvantaged children and young people.

Mad as a hatter

Sue Langley from Worcestershire organised a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at her home. Guests came in fancy dress. They played games, ate some delicious food and collected £700 for The Children’s Society.

Half marathon

Having been a young carer for his father, who suffered with Crohn’s Disease and cancer, Callum Davis was very affected by the stories of our work with young carers he heard from one of our speakers.  So much so, that he signed up to run the Birmingham half-marathon for us in October. He even roped in his girlfriend Danni to run with him! Together they raised over £400.

Brownies and Bishops

The Bishop of Chester’s house was the setting for the Chester Committee’s annual Garden Party, which raised £650 towards our work.  Guests were entertained by the choir from The Firs School while they browsed the stalls, one of which was run by a local Brownies group, and tried their luck with the fairground games.

School sports

Pupils at Heighington Primary School raised the grand sum of £4,128 from a day of sponsored sporting activities. Every pupil in the school took part by walking, running, cycling or scooting around the school-playing fields, doing laps sponsored by their friends and families.

Golden bake and brew

A big thank you goes to the Harpenden Committee, which held a Bake and Brew event and collected £677 for our work. One committee member had put up a marquee in her garden for her golden wedding anniversary celebrations and, the following day, donated its use for fundraising purposes. The focal point was a demonstration by local baker and cake decorator Liz Thompson from Queen of Herts.

Cathedral abseil

Courageous supporters once again took part in the Liverpool Cathedral abseil in August and saw their local city from a whole new perspective! Valerie Hunter (who took part to mark her 70th birthday), Brenda Ellis and Nigel Kirkwood braved the 150ft descent of this historic building and raised over £1,500 in the process. If you would like to take part in next year’s abseil, please contact our Supporter Care team on 0300 303 7000.

Fashion babes

BB Boutique, a babywear shop in Solihull, raised nearly £660 when it organised a fashion show during the summer to showcase their selection of luxury baby wear and children’s wear in support of our work.

Collection for Children 

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to our annual Collection for Children and helped us support vulnerable children. We’ve extended this year’s campaign to three weeks, 29 March – 19 April. Please look out for our mailing, which should arrive soon. You’ll see we’ve produced new posters and are offering volunteer speakers to visit community groups to help promote the appeal. If you’d like to get involved in 2014, please visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/collect or call 0300 303 7000.

Some things you can DO to support us

  • Walk across the Great Wall of China;
  • Take part in the 100-mile Prudential Ride London cycle event
  • Free-fall at 120mph from 10,000 feet in a tandem skydive.

For more information about these and other challenge events in 2014, please contact Supporter Care on 0300 303 7000.                       

Corporate supporters

We’re proud to have a number of corporate supporters – all of whom share our aim of helping disadvantaged children and young people to thrive. Here’s news from two of our newest corporate partners.

The Children’s ISA

Every parent and grandparent wants to give their child or grandchild the best possible start in life. One way of doing this is to save for their future. This can help with education, a first home or to protect them from debt when they’re older.

We’ve recently created a partnership with The Children’s ISA. When you open one of their Junior ISAs for a child, we receive a £50 donation for our work with children living in poverty.

The Junior ISA is ethically managed by Ecclesiastical Investments and any savings you deposit with them will achieve growth without compromising ethical investment principles.

For more information about The Children’s ISA and how to apply for an account visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/collect

Hatton Garden Metals

We’ve started a fantastic new partnership with Hatton Garden Metals which means you can donate or sell your gold, silver and platinum and we’ll receive funds towards our work.

On average we receive up to £138 for a 15g 9ct gold necklace. An amount like this could help a family living in destitution with necessities such as school uniforms or weekly bus passes.

For more details of this partnership please contact Supporter Care on 0300 303 7000 or via email. You can also pop into any of our retail stores and pick up a prepaid postal envelope for donating.

 

Shop ‘til you drop

Our retail empire is growing fast, with new shop openings every month. We plan to have more than 100 by the end of March. Retail stores are an important part of our income generation as they bring in over 15% of our annual revenue. Our shop openings are usually a cause for celebration in the local area, as some of these stories show.

Three mayors and a town crier

A traditional town crier announced the launch of our Hanwell Fields shop in Banbury calling all customers to buy or donate items. His ‘oyez, oyez’ cry elicited the support of current Mayor  of Banbury Nicholas Turner, our retail director Lynne McMahon, former Mayors Tony Ilot and John Donaldson, The Children’s Society trustee Sylvia Thomson, regional manager Trish Baxter and shop manager, Sue Bell.

You’ve been trolleyed

Our Consett shop has received donations from both the Santander Foundation (£2,100) and the new Tesco store in their town (£1,000) for The Children’s Society programmes. Tesco store manager, Gary Ewart (left) was so pleased to hand over the cheque to Liam Stephenson, a volunteer from our Consett retail store, that he jumped in a trolley!

Where’s Mickey?

We’ve got Minnie and the Mayor (Cllr Martin Cox), but Mickey Mouse was nowhere to be seen when our Burnham-on-Sea shop opened in the autumn. It didn’t matter however as the shop took an amazing £480 within the first 45 minutes of its opening.

Get involved 

Our shops are always looking for more stock donations, volunteers and, of course, customers. Find your nearest Children’s Society retail store via www.childrenssociety.org.uk/in-your-area

 

Conclusion and contact details

We hope you enjoyed reading our magazine. If you did, please feel free to pass it on to someone else.

  • Please get in touch with our Supporter Care team if you’d like to:
  • Receive your own regular copy
  • Have your copy sent by email
  •  Get more copies of this issue to distribute to your friends and family
  • Comment on anything you’ve read in this issue
  • Find out more about how to support our work.

On behalf of all the children and young people we work with, thank you for your interest in our work.

Address:  Supporter Care Team, The Children’s Society, Edward Rudolf House, Margery Street, London WC1X 0JL

Tel: 0300 303 7000

Email: supportercare@childrenssociety.org.uk

Web: www.childrenssociety.org.uk

Twitter: @childrensociety

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