28 Aug 2013

Welcome to Voice, Issue 1, Autumn 2013

This is the text-only version of Voice, our supporter magazine. To read more about the magazine and to access the content in other ways visit the magazine's webpage.

A message from our Chief Executive

Welcome to the first issue of our new supporter magazine, combining our former Connect and Volunteers’ Voice publications.

We’ve called our new magazine Voice because it really sums up what The Children’s Society is all about. We:

  • Listen to the voices of children and young people;
  • Are guided by their voices both in the direct work we do but also in our campaigning and lobbying work;
  • Amplify their voices so that they can be heard in the corridors of power.
  • We couldn’t do this work without you – whether you volunteer, fundraise, campaign or donate to us.

We’re always mindful of how we spend the money you give us, even more so in these economically challenging times. By combining our previous magazines, we’re able to make cost savings and share our news with all our supporters at the same time.

Ever since the days of our founder Edward Rudolf, we’ve been innovators, seeking the most effective ways of supporting children and young people. And we’re continuing to do this now through passionately focusing all our efforts in two key areas: fighting childhood poverty and doing all we can to support children and teenagers who experience neglect. There’ll be more news about our first action on childhood poverty later in the year.

In the meantime, on behalf of all the children and young people we support together, thank you very much for your continued support and generosity. I hope to catch up with some of you at various events over the winter.

With kind regards

Matthew Reed

Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

 

Contents

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

Taking a break at the Young Carers’ Festival - See how this festival gives young carers a break.

Facts and figures - How supporter generosity is helping us and our work.

The way I see it - Meet Dr Maggie Atkinson, The Children’s Commissioner for England.

My story - Melissa, 16, explains how she is caring for her family.

What we’re doing for children and young people - An overview of the breadth of work we do, from runaways to young refugees

A day in the life of... - Find out why Melissa Smith volunteers at one of our programmes.

Tea for two - Celebrity chef and entrepreneur Levi Roots joins us for a chat and a cuppa.

All things Christmas - Some great fundraising ideas for the festive season, including Christingle.

Now and then - News from our supporters’ fundraising activities and upcoming opportunities to get involved.

Shop ‘til you drop - A range of retail therapies to help you shop and at the same time contribute to helping others.

Conclusion and contact details - Thank you for reading Voice. Follow us on social media, and let us know how you would like to receive future issues.

 

News round-up

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way

The generous support of people who leave a gift in their Will to The Children’s Society each year allows us to help the ever-growing number of disadvantaged and vulnerable children and teenagers in this country.

In recognition of the importance of these legacies to our work, we’ve held a series of events since spring to meet and thank our supporters in person and help them gain a broader understanding of what we do.

Out-of-the-ordinary venues, including the Turner Art Gallery in Margate, Hatfield House in Hertfordshire and the National Media Museum in Bradford were the settings for these e vents, where guests heard about our inspiring and innovative projects happening in their areas.

The next two receptions are on:

  • Wednesday 11 September at The Hospitium, York
  • Thursday 26 September at Savill Gardens, Surrey.

We’re adding more dates to our schedule soon, so please check www.childrenssociety.org.uk/legacy regularly to find out if we’ll be near where you live. To register your interest in attending one of our supporter receptions or for more information about making a Will and leaving a legacy to The Children’s Society,  please contact us at supportercare@ childrenssociety.org.uk or call us on 0300  303  7000.

Archbishop of Canterbury accepts presidency

It was announced at the July General Synod that the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has accepted our invitation to become President of The Children’s Society, alongside the Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

The public support of these two church leaders further strengthens our historic relationship with the Church of England and underlines our common purpose in working with and supporting some of the country’s most disadvantaged children and families.

Supporting refugees and those in the asylum process

We have provided evidence to two influential parliamentary inquiries into the asylum process.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) report ‘In their best interests?’ on the rights of unaccompanied migrant children and young people echoed our concerns and recommended a pilot system of guardianship for unaccompanied migrant children.

It also called for amendments to the legislation which makes young people destitute when they turn 18.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has also been investigating the asylum process, including whether support to asylum seekers is sufficient and effective. We submitted written evidence to the committee based on the parliamentary inquiry into asylum support for children and young people that we supported earlier in the year, which was led by former children’s minister Sarah Teather MP.

We are urging the government to consider carefully the evidence from these inquiries. They show that children and young people are being failed by the immigration system and denied the support they need to keep them safe. We will be working with MPs and Peers to try to improve the support that these children and young people can get.

Annabel supports Bake and Brew with recipes

The UK’s number one parenting author Annabel Karmel MBE is supporting Bake and Brew by providing two delicious cupcake recipes: Jewelled Cupcakes and Easy Cupcakes. Visit our Bake and Brew website to find out more: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/bake.

Empty your pockets

Through our innovative partnership with Coinstar and its Coins that Count programme, your loose change has raised over £200,000 for our work so far. To increase this amount, all you have to do is empty your pockets and convert your coins into donations by using the Coinstar machine in your local supermarket.

It’s quick and easy to give us your change at any of the Coinstar donation machines. Simply follow the on-screen instructions, pour in your coins and get a confirmation receipt.

To find your nearest Coinstar machine, visit http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/donate/other-ways-give/donate-your-spare-change and use the machine location tool or call their freephone customer care line 0800 328 2274.

New partnership with Thistle Hotels

When Thistle Hotels decided to do something big to help vulnerable children across the UK, they came up with a series of events to support and fundraise for the younger generation under the name of Lite@Nite. To kick off this initiative, they held two large- scale events over the summer, with the donations received from these going to five beneficiary partners – and we’re one of them.

Employees of the chain held a 28- day, 1,400-mile, multi-sport (running, swimming or cycling) fundraising relay event in August between every Thistle Hotel from Inverness to London. A really fun, interactive event, it had tremendous support from our programmes and loyal supporters along the way.

Thistle Hotels also arranged five ‘kids triathlon’ events in Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol during the school summer holidays. They encouraged children to work in teams to complete the triathlon together and, at the same time, raise funds for charity. Thistle

Hotels hope to raise £150,000 and are already plotting away to make next year’s events even bigger and better.

Transforming legal aid

In the wake of extensive cuts to legal aid last year, we’re very concerned about the impact on children and young people that the government’s new proposals for further cuts to legal aid would have. We know from our research and our work with young refugees and asylum seekers just how vital legal aid is. We fear that further restrictions could put children and young people at risk of further abuse, exploitation or harm.

We have submitted a response to the government’s consultation on reforms and are working with other organisations to raise our concerns.

Old phones for ... cash

Are you thinking about trading in your old mobile for a newer version? Do you realise that a working iPhone 5 could be worth almost £140? We’ve got an innovative partnership with a recycling company where you can trade in your old phone – working or otherwise – and donate a proportion of its value to The Children’s Society, while the remainder comes back to you.

Trading in your phone this way couldn’t be simpler, just go to: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/mobiles.

Our latest work in Parliament

We’re working very closely with parliamentarians on legislation that is relevant to our work on child poverty and adolescent neglect. We’ve told them that our concerns and issues are based on our research, policy work and direct work with children, young people and families. The four key bills we’re working on are:

Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

This bill proposes to condense the 19 existing powers to tackle anti-social behaviour into six new ones. We’re concerned that the measures proposed will not address the underlying causes of anti-social behaviour and do not put in place a preventative framework, which could lead to more children being fast-tracked into the criminal justice system. We know from our projects working with children and young people that community-based, restorative and rehabilitative measures are effective and should consistently underpin policy and practice.

Immigration Bill

This bill will reform immigration law but it hasn’t been published yet and is currently under consultation. The bill may include proposals to restrict access to healthcare and to limit rights of appeal. We are concerned about the impact this could have on refugee and migrant children. We will be working in partnership with the Refugee Children’s Consortium to highlight the issues for children as the bill is debated in parliament.

Care Bill

This bill reforms the legislation for adults in need of care and support, and for their carers. As part of the National Young Carers’ Coalition (NYCC) we are working to ensure that the legislation clarifies the roles and responsibilities of both children’s services and adults’ services in identifying and meeting needs of young carers and their parents and families.

Children and Families Bill

The Children and Families Bill proposes a range of changes to children’s legislation including adoption, family justice, support for children and young people with special educational needs, and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner in England (OCCE). We’re working with parliamentarians to ensure that the OCCE has sufficient functions, powers and independence to effectively promote children’s rights, as well as strengthen the legislation relating to young carers.

Keeping costs down

We’re always careful about how we spend the money you donate to us to maximise the benefit to the young people we work with and we constantly look to make cost-savings where we can. To help us keep costs down, you can opt to receive an online copy of our magazine in future by emailing supportercare@childrenssociety.org.uk.

The Good Childhood Report 2013

We published our annual update on our research into the well-being of children and young people in late July. This revealed that 14- and 15-year-olds have lower well-being than other children, in most areas of their lives. We’ve also found out that there are a range of things we can do to help children to improve their own well-being.

So to help us all to support children’s well-being, we have produced a series of guides and resources this year, including ones for:

  • Parents
  • People working with children and young people (such as teachers and youth workers)
  • Parishes and churches
  • Families with younger children on activities to do over the summer.

If you’d like a copy of The Good Childhood Report 2013 or one of the associated guides, please go to our website: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/well-being.

Missing children get the reforms they need

A year on from the influential parliamentary inquiry that we supported into children going missing from care, the government has announced proposals to better protect these vulnerable children. This is a very positive step and includes revised statutory guidance and proposals for local agencies to work together to protect young runaways. We are pleased that the government is making progress on this issue and we will be working with them through the consultation process to call for further measures, such as for all children who go missing from home or care to be offered an independent return interview.

Watershed recommendation on free school meals

Our aim to ensure that every child living in poverty receives a free school meal took a great step forward in July, with the publication of the School Food Plan. This is an independent review commissioned by the government, to look at what our children are eating at school. The plan referred to our work on the issue and recommended that the government extends free school meals to more children.

This is great news, and shows what an impact the Fair and Square campaign has made. But we need to keep pushing, to ensure the government acts on these recommendations.

 You can join up the campaign via our website or write to your MP using our template tool at: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/fairandsquare.

With the government’s own advisors clearly listening to our campaign, it shows us what we can achieve when we act together. Let’s keep pushing and we can make it Fair and Square for all children in poverty.

Nowhere to turn?

We joined forces with the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, to warn that some of the country’s poorest families could pay the biggest price for changes to a government fund for people in need of emergency support. We’re very concerned that the changes in provision could drive vulnerable families deeper into debt, as they are forced to turn to loan sharks and high-cost money lenders.

Our report ‘Nowhere to Turn? Changes to Emergency Support’ looked at the local welfare assistance schemes set up by local authorities to replace the Social Fund. Our report found that funding had almost halved compared to 2010 and that almost two-thirds of local authorities were no longer providing interest-free emergency loans.

We’ve called for no further reductions in funding for the support schemes and for the government to support local authorities to provide interest-free loans for families in financial crisis.

Fair and Square and from TV

Our Fair and Square free school meals campaign has attracted support from two high-profile TV celebrities, Kym Lomas and Tamzin Outhwaite.

Coronation Street star Kym has lent her support to ensure that all children in need of free school meals are able to get them. As part of her support, Kym shared her own experiences of struggling to pay the bills as a single mum before she became famous.

Tamzin, set to be the new boss in the BBC series New Tricks, was shocked to hear that over a million children in need are missing out on free school meals. The mum-of-two said: ‘Everyone knows that without the right food, children can’t develop properly. And I, like so many others, believed that the most vulnerable children in this country were already getting the benefits that these meals provide. I was really shocked to find out that this was just not the case.’

Both stars were featured in our series of campaigning reports in the Sunday People. To support this campaign, please visit: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/fairandsquare. 

 

Taking a break at the Young Carers’ Festival

More than 1,700 young carers gather at a national festival to enjoy a break from caring.

Young carers from across England gathered at the biggest festival of its kind at the end of June to enjoy a weekend of music, arts, activities and a rare chance to take a break from their caring responsibilities.

The Children’s Society and YMCA Fairthorne Manor held the 14th annual Young Carers’ Festival, attracting the biggest-ever crowd of young carers this year, to give these children the chance to enjoy some downtime and forget their responsibilities for the weekend.

At the start of the summer, shocking new census data was published revealing that a staggering 166,000 children in England are caring for their parents, siblings and family members. We believe this is likely to massively underrepresent the true picture.

The festival also gives young carers the opportunity to meet and create a powerful, united voice about the issues they face, and to influence national policy and guidance for young carers and their families.  This year’s festival happened just as Edward Timpson MP, the Children’s Minister, announced that the government will be developing greater support in law for young carers and their entire families.

We strongly believe that 2013 provides  a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the government to consolidate key adult and children’s legislation to make sure children are prevented from taking on inappropriate caring roles, by assessing a whole family’s needs.

Let’s lift the shadow of responsibility

Celebrity designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is backing our call for more support to be given to young carers.

Laurence said: ‘I was nine when my father died. My mother had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years earlier and was left to bring up three children alone. So I can very much empathise with the life a young carer is forced to lead. There are tens of thousands of young carers out there, many of them hidden from view. We need to lift the shadow of responsibility and give these young carers back their childhoods.’

First person

Star is 18 years old and a young carer. She talks about her experience of the Young Carers’ Festival 2013.

‘The Young Carers’ Festival is brilliant. Because I look after my mum who has depression, it gives me time out to think about myself and reflect on what I want to do. Usually I’m a shoulder to cry on for my mum.

‘This is my second year as a Young Carers in Focus Champion. Being a champion gives me, and other young carers, an opportunity to get our voices heard, on both a local and a national level.

‘It means us “champions” can actually change things to help make life better in the future. The Young Carers’ Festival also gives me the opportunity to mix with new people I wouldn’t usually mix with – it’s great fun too.

‘I can also encourage other young carers at the festival to think about becoming champions themselves. The festival gives me time to be a young person, as being a young carer means I haven’t really had a childhood. I love it!’

Please donate so we can continue to work for change for young carers. We want improved services for whole families where young carers live, to prevent them from becoming carers in the first place and missing out on their childhoods, education and future life opportunities.

Young carers in focus 

Young Carers in Focus (YCiF) is an exciting four-year programme running until 2016, led by The Children’s Society and funded by the Big Lottery.

It aims to give young carers a voice so they can share their experiences, improve public understanding about the issues they face and gain recognition and support.

More than 200 young people are being recruited as ‘champions’ to help raise awareness about what life is like for young carers. Messages from YCiF and the ‘champions’ will reach 450,000 young people, in over 9,000 schools, over four years, through the www.makewav.es/ycif site. This is a safe social network for young carers to log onto through their schools and it is open to all projects and schools to use.

YCiF aims to help young carers by:

  • Helping them share their stories, pictures and films, and talk about what matters to them.
  • Supporting them to get their voices heard to inform decision makers.
  • Supporting them to have the same opportunities for education, employment, training and leisure time, as their peers.
  • Improving public awareness and understanding of family illness and disability, to promote positive attitudes towards young carers and their families, mitigating the stigma and discrimination.
  • Encouraging local authorities, schools, GPs and young carers’ services to support the work of the project.

To find out more, visit www.makewav.es/ycif.

Young Carers in Focus (YCiF) is run in partnership with Rethink Mental Illness, YMCA Fairthorne Group, the Fatherhood Institute and DigitalME

Here’s what you can do to support young carers: write to your local councillor, council leader or local school chair of governors and ask them if their schools have a named contact to support young carers. At the same time, tell them about www.makewav.es/ycif – a safe social network for schools and young carers. 

 

Facts and figures

It is thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we can carry   out our vital work in supporting children and young people. So we thought you might like some facts and figures about us and our work. This issue we’re focusing on a very important subject – money.

These figures give you a snapshot of our current financial picture and demonstrate that we work hard to spend our income in the most prudent and effective way, according to best practice as regulated by the Charity Commission.

Where our funding came from (2012/2013)

Total income - £46.3 million

£23.7m - Donations, legacies, grants - Increase of 7%

£14.2m - Central and local government - Increase of 12%

£1.3m - Investment and other income - Decrease of 9%

£7.1m - Trading including shops - Increase of 8%

How our income was spent (2012/2013)

Total expenditure - £46.2 million

£28.1m - Services to children - Increase of 10%

£4.7m - Campaigning, policy and research - Increase of 3%

£6.3m – Fundraising - Increase of 7%

£6.5m - Trading including shops – Increase of 18%

A good year

We had a good year in 2012/13, despite the difficult economic times and sweeping changes to children’s services in local authorities.

We achieved an increase in our income through work commissioned by local authorities, which meant we could increase expenditure on childcare and protection by 10% in the year to £28.1m. 

Overall, our final results show that our operating position was break-even in the last financial year, in line with our budget and plans. Again, we couldn’t have done it without the generosity of our fantastic supporters – whether you volunteer with us, organise Christingles, donate money or stock, the list goes on. Thank you for supporting us. Your generosity has helped to change lives. 

 

The way I see it

Through our network of contacts, we enjoy excellent relationships with people from all walks of life. This regular feature highlights the personal opinion of a different person each issue. We’re thrilled to kick off this series with the Children’s Commissioner for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson.

‘I was delighted to be invited to the 14th annual Young Carers’ Festival at the end of June, organised by The Children’s Society and YMCA Fairthorne Manor.

‘It was a fantastic day and I enjoyed meeting some of the 1,700 young carers who attended. It was a great opportunity for them to chill out, to do fun things – hopefully without worrying too much about home – and to meet lots of other young people who know exactly how life is for them.

‘Even though many of these children and young people do remarkable things and are rightly proud to look after family members in need of help, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s policy position has always been that the right support should be provided to young people who care for their loved ones so that their caring does not impinge on their childhood.

‘The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which underpins all my work, is clear in stating that the best interests of the child must be a top priority in all actions concerning them and that all children have a right to an education that develops their personality, talents and abilities, as well as the right to relax, play and join in activities. For young carers, these rights can be challenged by the weight of responsibility and stresses placed on them.

‘At the festival, I talked with some amazing young people who are carrying out caring roles at home. It was a privilege to spend time with them and hear about their lives. I met an Olympic torch bearer who has also been a young carer most of his life; young people  who, as well as carrying enormous responsibilities at home, are doing very well in their chosen subjects at school, college and university; young writers, painters and model makers; sports players and musicians, and more besides.

‘One of the things I enjoyed was being interviewed by young people for the YCFM radio broadcast which went out live to the festival site and then out internationally, across the internet. I was asked about how we can support young carers through teacher and other professional training, in the way children are worked with in their homes and communities, and in how policy is made nationally and locally.

‘It was great that the young carers also got to meet some of the people who can make policy and decisions that make a difference. They received a very supportive message from the Children’s Minister, Ed Timpson MP, who only the week before the festival, with Norman Lamb MP (a Minister at Department of Health), agreed to look at the law to make sure that adult services and children’s services work together to protect young carers by looking at their whole family – making sure they get the help and support they need. This was a real victory for the young carers. It is right that they should get the support, respite, help and advice that they need. Children and young people who care should always be recognised by schools, the government and others because their childhoods are affected by their caring role and are different from those of other children and young people.

‘We should do everything we can both to support young carers, and to make sure there are better services for their families so they can access the opportunities enjoyed by other children and young people of their age. I will go on being among the many people who champion these extraordinary young people. But I will also go on reminding us all that first and foremost, they need to be allowed  to be children and have the right to enjoy their childhoods.’

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

Maggie Atkinson has been the Children’s Commissioner for England since early 2010. Her office champions the views and interests of children and young people in England: www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk. 

 

My story

You’ve told us that you want to hear more from the children and young people we work with. So, each issue we’ll be talking to one of them about their life. We start with Melissa, 16. Here’s her story of being a young carer.

‘Hello, my name is Melissa and I live with my mum, step-dad and younger sister. Within my caring role, I care for several family members. I help care for my mum who has depression and a slipped disc in her back – an operation a few years ago only made the pain worse. She’s also had a pace-maker fitted because, in the past, her heart would stop for up to seven seconds at a time, often causing her to faint.

‘My sister and I used to get help from my step-dad. However, he’s now unable to do this as he’s recently undergone open heart surgery.

‘I also help care for my dad, who fell off a balcony and cracked his head, and my grandmother, who is blind.

‘There isn’t a day goes by when I don’t do something for one of my family, but my responsibilities vary according to who I’m caring for. For different relatives I help clean the house, cook dinner, pick up medicine, walk the dogs, sort post, pay bills and make sure they’ve everything they need, among other jobs.

‘I’ve just finished my GCSEs and am preparing for college. This, along with my caring responsibilities, often leaves me feeling stressed. I don’t really have a social life or go out much with friends.

‘I also can’t sit and do one thing for a long amount of time, like revision, as I’m interrupted by other things, such as making dinner.

‘Sometimes, I feel as though I’ve had enough, but I know I can’t stop. It does help though that I have my sister and don’t have to do all of this alone.

‘I’m very keen to help other young carers, as there are so many out there, younger than me, who do so much more. I recently became a Young Carers in Focus (YCiF) Champion to raise awareness about the issues that young carers face and what my life is like being a carer.

‘I’ve received so much support from The Children’s Society’s YCiF programme as well as my local Southampton Young Carers and their Next Steps project, so I think others could benefit from this. It helps to give young carers a break once in a while, which we so desperately need. They do this through one-on-one or group meetings and trips to take our mind off things, like the recent Young Carers’ Festival. Also, the Next Steps programme can help with applying for colleges and jobs, which can be difficult for some people.

‘I believe that there isn’t much out there to help young carers, so being a Young Carers in Focus Champion is being part of something that can help change that – that was what inspired me to become a champion.’

Hidden from View

A staggering 166,000 children in England care for their parents, siblings and family members, a 20% increase since 2001, according to new census data published in May.

Our recent report, Hidden from View, revealed that young carers lag behind in school and miss out on their childhoods because of the demands placed on them. They’re also one-and-a-half times more likely to have a long-standing illness, disability or special educational need than their peers.

We know from our experience that many vulnerable young carers are hidden from the view of support services who could help them.

You can help young carers to make sure they get a break from caring and the support they need by donating to or by fundraising for The Children’s Society. Every year we organise the Young Carers’ Festival and your support will help to give young carers a much needed break and a chance to get their voices heard.

 

What we’re doing for children and young people

Established in 1881, The Children’s Society has from the outset worked with the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people. During the past 25 years, we’ve perhaps become best known for our work with runaways, but (as our article on young carers on pages 10 to 12 shows) we do much more than that. Read on to find out more.

Children at risk of sexual exploitation

Our Streetwise programme has supported all of the 14 young girls at the centre of police investigations in Coventry, since the discovery of organised child sexual exploitation in the area last year.

Streetwise has also reached 400 children and young people (a more than tenfold increase on last year thanks to additional funding) through 100 awareness-raising sessions, and over 100 professionals.

A young person said: ‘Today I learned that not everybody you speak to on the internet is real.’

Children in care

At our programme in Lancashire, referrals to our services from foster care increased by 40%.

A total of 175 children in care have been placed on our careers scheme and 58% are now either in education or employment. Almost half have special education needs and/or a disability, and are given a dedicated support volunteer throughout their placement.

A young person said: ‘This is the first group that I feel really makes a difference to me.   I left care three years ago and have really found it hard to be on my own. I have got in a lot of mess with debt and other things. At the group it’s like everyone there knows what it’s like and don’t make you feel stupid.’

Young refugees

At The Children’s Society’s LEAP programme in Leeds, our HEART service provided advocacy support to 12 children/young people and their families, helping them to get vital support related to their immigration circumstances.

We achieved extremely positive results: two of the families were granted leave to remain following a lengthy wait, full of uncertainty and high emotion. Such a service reflects the value of long-term relationships, where families have felt supported throughout. The service kept parents informed about their rights and supported them to make good decisions.

A key to success was working with a number of different agencies such as children’s centres, legal representatives, social workers and schools, to ensure that children’s best interests were taken into account at all times.

A mother of four granted leave to remain said: ‘I am so thankful for your help, without you, I would have given up. Now my children are safe, I can’t believe it.’

Young runaways

Our SCARPA programme in Newcastle, which works with young runaways, found that 70% of the children they worked with either stopped going missing or significantly reduced the number of occasions that they went missing. About 60% of young people said they felt better about themselves as a result of our working with them on the issues they had.

When asked if they would recommend SCARPA to a friend, 93% said yes.

Nick’s story

Nick is one of the young people referred to SCARPA. He shared his story with us:

‘I was 11 when I first ran away. My home life is quite complicated: I’ve got five brothers and three sisters, but my mum and dad aren’t together any more. Everyone in our house is always arguing and fighting. After one really bad argument I got upset and ran away. After that it became a bit of a habit, so I just kept running away, the police would find me and bring me back home.

‘One time I went to the beach and slept there. I was woken up by the police and taken home, I was 12.

‘I get lonely at my mum’s. My big sister’s in care so I’m the eldest and that feels like a lot of pressure. I feel guilty when I run away, especially about my little brothers and sister. I came back one night after saying I was going to kill myself and she was so upset.

‘When I was running away I’d get into a lot of trouble. When the police picked me up I’d get angry with them and they’d put me in a cell, I’ve been in cells about seven or eight times. I also started stealing and I ended up in court. I don’t ever want to do that again, it’s scary in a cell, and very lonely.

‘I was referred to SCARPA by my social worker. A project worker came to see me and asked if I’d like to be involved. SCARPA has helped me a lot with my anger issues. They’ve given me a way to calm down, to stop being naughty and given me everything I needed to stop running away.

‘Now if I’m upset or I need advice I can ring up SCARPA or send them an email. I’ve found ways to calm myself down.

‘I play with my friends, or I go to my bedroom to watch some telly or play on my Xbox. Or I talk to my dad and let out my feelings.

‘SCARPA also helped me get back into school; I’m getting the education I need. I’ve just got a B in my ICT exam; I’ve learned that if I stick at school I can get good grades. Before I was thinking about killing myself, but now I want to get a good job and have a better life.’

Who we help

At the end of March this year 23,673 children had accessed support through our children’s centres and we have worked with 6,520 of those children on at least five occasions.

And, during the course of 2012/2013 we supported 6,005 children and young people through our services. Here our work is split between girls and boys, mainly over the age of 11, and many of the young people we supported were in care, a refugee, disabled or at risk on the streets.  (The graphs below relate to our services)

By age

0 to 5 years - 8%

6 to 10 years – 10%

11 to 15 years – 37%

16 to 17 years – 22%

18 years plus – 23%

By area of work

At risk on the streets (now or has been) – 15%

Has physical or mental issues – 18%

In trouble with the law* - 4%

Is looked after* - 31%

Is a carer* - 3%

Is a refugee – 22%

Is using drugs* - 4%

Is living with someone using drugs – 3%

 

A day in the life of...

This is the first in a series of regular features focusing on one person and the difference they make to the work of The Children’s Society. Here we show a day in the life of Melissa Smith, a volunteer at one of our programmes.

Photo 1:

‘Finally the sun is shining in Billingham so I decided to sunbathe before leaving to do my weekly volunteering with the Friday Club! It is always so much fun and energetic that some relaxation in the sun before it begins is welcome.’

Photo 2:

‘Here I am, arriving at the Tees Valley Children’s Society project…Hello everyone!’

Photo 3:

‘I catch up with my Volunteering Co-ordinator Joanne every few weeks to let her know how my individual and group mentoring is going. I always end up discussing art because this is my passion and something that I have been able to share with the young person I mentor, who also loves art.’

Photo 4:

‘Today we’re having an anti-bullying workshop and we’re producing a display for the Tees Valley project. I’m really excited as I can use some of my art skills with the group. Many of them are already brilliant at arts and crafts so I am sure they will produce a fab display.’

Photo 5:

‘These are some of the young people who attend the Friday club working hard to produce our anti-bullying display. I am so impressed with how well they are working together.’

Photo 6:

‘Our anti-bullying display! I had to put the final product up on the wall straight away because it is just so brilliant. It’s a real boost in confidence when the young people see their work up in its full glory!’

Photo 7:

‘Before I leave I just have to make a phone call to my mentee to arrange our next individual mentoring session. This young person wanted to spend quality individual time with a mentor rather than attend a group. I love volunteering with young people so much that I do both.’

Photo 8:

‘After a hectic afternoon, I’m heading home. We’ve already arranged a cake decorating session with the Friday club next week and my mentee wants to go bowling so I have lots of fun volunteering sessions to look forward to next week.’

Melissa has volunteered with our Ohana Project in Tees Valley since leaving school at the age of 16. She provides one-to-one mentoring for a young person and for the Friday Club, a group for children with complex needs. Over time, she has become an invaluable member of our team.

The Ohana Project Tees Valley has been running for over two years and provides Counselling, Family Intervention and Mentoring services for children and young people who have been  identified as being at risk of offending. The project also links with the local Youth Offending Service and our two practitioners who deal with restorative justice, who are based at our Tees Valley office. The project runs two groups on a Thursday and Friday for children who have additional or complex needs that require further support when making the transition from primary to secondary school, and also during their first two years at secondary school (Years 7 and 8).

If you’ve been inspired by Melissa’s day and are interested in volunteering for us, why not look at our volunteer opportunities in our volunteering pages. Alternatively, please speak to a member of our Volunteer Team on 020 7841 4602.

 

Tea for two

Teatime is one of the best times of the day – for children and adults alike. So, we thought that we’d make a real celebration out of it by asking a different celebrity supporter each issue to tell us why they like ‘tea for two’ or three …. or more. This issue we’re having tea with celebrity chef and entrepreneur, Levi Roots.

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

‘I’m Levi Roots, the creator of the famous Reggae Reggae sauce.’ 

Please tell us about your background.
‘I grew up in Jamaica where my grandmother taught me the magic of Caribbean cooking. Aged 12, I moved to Brixton to join the rest of my family. I’ve always loved cooking and spent hours in the kitchen refining the recipes that my grandmother taught me as a young boy. It led me into the Dragons’ Den and to the launch of my famous Reggae Reggae Sauce – the rest is history!’  

Why do you support The Children’s Society?
‘I left school at 16. I was a real bad boy back then and ended up in prison. But I don’t hide the stuff I’ve done. If you’re telling people they can get somewhere in their life, you’ve got to tell them where you’re coming from. I support The Children’s Society because they’re transforming the lives of some of most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in our society and campaign to raise children out of poverty. I’m a Rasta man from Brixton and I understand the life of kids on the streets - it’s good to be involved and to give something back. ‘

What are you currently working on?
‘I’m supporting The Children’s Society’s Bake and Brew appeal. It involves baking and selling delicious cakes and inspiring parents to spend time cooking in the kitchen with their children – that’s got to be good. In my business I’m busy building the Levi Roots brand from sauces to snacks and from chilled ready meals to soft drinks. I’ve got my eyes on bringing Caribbean cookery to America, and after that world domination!’

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

‘In my garden at home in Jamaica, because I can pick a number of fresh leaves, herbs, fruits and vines right from the trees, or from out the ground for total organic infusion.’

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

My first school teacher. Why? So I could tell her (over a cuppa) how well I've done.

What’s your favourite cake and why?
‘My Chocolate and Lime Cake because it’s so easy to make and delicious too. Visit Bake and Brew at www.childrenssociety.org.uk/bake for the recipe or check out my recipe book “Sweet”. 

Levi’s favourite cake could become yours. Why not hold a Bake and Brew with your friends, family, congregation or community and try out his recipe? You can find it here: http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/fundraising-and-appeals/bake-and-brew/recipes. Our Bake and Brew Week 2013 is from 2 to 8 September, but you can hold yours at any time in the year. For more information and to download our free Bake and Brew resources, please visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/bake or contact our Supporter Care team on 0300 303 7000

 

All things Christmas

We’ve got some great fundraising ideas for the festive season. The highlights are featured here. And remember, the proceeds from these activities and gifts make a huge contribution towards our work with disadvantaged children and young people.

Christingle

Preparations for this year’s Christingle season are about to begin and we’re sending guides to our regular supporters in September. But there’s plenty of time to get involved if you’ve never put on a Christingle before. Thousands of children across the country look forward to the unique candlelit celebration every year so bring your community together and raise money for the children among us suffering the effects of growing up in poverty.

A young person, Lucy, age 8, said: ‘It’s like a community isn’t it? We feel all together.’

Christingle is the perfect opportunity for children to learn the story of Jesus and what that means to our lives today. It is a valuable and memorable occasion that stays with them throughout their lives.

Why not experience Christingle yourself by supporting The Children’s Society at your local event this Christmas? Check whether your local church or school is holding a Christingle or visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/Christingle to find out more and keep track of where events are happening.

Festive floral arrangement

Many people love to receive flowers at Christmas and, this year, St Saviour’s Nurseries has created a special floral arrangement that reflects Christingle - the perfect gift for you to send to loved ones.

This special offer bouquet contains 12 orange carnations with foliage, wrapped with a red bow and with an orange-scented tea-light tied to the flowers – all for just £20.

Our long-standing partner, St Saviour’s Nurseries, will donate £3 for each Christmas bouquet order placed. You can order yours today by going to www.stsavioursnurseries.com or calling 01481 265521. Please quote ‘TCS’.

Gift amnesty

Let’s face it – we don’t always get exactly what we wanted in our Christmas stocking! So, why not have a New Year clear-out and drop off your unwanted presents or anything else clogging up your wardrobe to one of our 86 shops located around the country?

There’s a location map on our website to help you find your nearest branch: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/shop/high-street. And when you sign up to Gift Aid in our shops, you can increase the value of your donation by an extra 25%.

Lovely Christmas cards

Our lovely new range of Christmas cards is now on sale. We’ve everything from classic religious themes to jolly Santa designs. You’ll find a Christmas card catalogue enclosed with your magazine. Cards are also on sale at our shops. If you’d like to see a wider range than the one featured in the catalogue, visit our web shop www.childrenssociety.org.uk/christmas-cards. Pop into a shop or call our Supporter Care team (see contact details on back cover) if you require extra catalogues.

Ding, dong, merrily on high

Dress yourself up, sing loud and collect for vulnerable children – at your child’s or grandchild’s school, with your church, your colleagues or even from pub to pub. However you want to do it, we’d love you to join us by carol singing this year. See www.childrenssociety.org.uk/carols or call Supporter Care on 0300 303 7000 to find out more.

Really meaningful chocolate

This Christmas, look out for a chocolate advent calendar with a difference.

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with the Meaningful Chocolate Company by launching The Real Advent Calendar.

For each calendar sold, a donation of 10p will be made to help some of our most urgent work. Pick up a calendar in your local Tesco supermarket from October, order through the Traidcraft catalogue or via www.realadvent.co.uk/shop. 

 

Now and then

As a way of saying thank you to our fantastic supporters, we thought you’d like knowing what activities have been happening around the country recently and what you can look forward to.

You’re hired!

In the spring, two teams of students from Sheffield University’s Lloyds Scholars’ programme took part in an ‘Apprentice- style’ fundraising challenge. The ‘Bright Sparks’ and ‘Team Suave’ took over our Hillsborough shop for two days and did everything from finding lots of new stock, providing excellent customer service and putting on events to attract shoppers, in an effort to win. Team Suave leader, Kahar Hussain, had been part of our Voices project when he was younger and had a personal link to us: ‘There are many young people I know that have benefited from the work carried out by The Children’s Society including myself it feels great to be back on board supporting such an amazing charity.’

‘Team Suave’ includes Zoe Faulkner, Carl Baker, Kahar Hussain, Annie Lapik and Chris Fleming.

Ikea’s Give Twice initiative

Karima, one of the new employees at the recently opened IKEA store in Warrington, used to have a daughter at our PALS pre-school nursery in the area. When she heard that her store was doing a Give Twice fundraising initiative – where customers donate their newly bought soft toys back to IKEA to give to charity – she asked if they’d do it for us too. They agreed and some of the toys we received can be seen in the photograph.

Sue Preston, deputy programme manager in Warrington, said: ‘They’ve been a great gift. The soft dolls have come in very handy recently with a couple that we’re working with, who are due to have a baby soon. Although not born yet, their son is on a Child Protection Plan. We’re teaching his parents-in-waiting about how to care for a baby.’

Midsummer tea

Cakes, glorious cakes – a cuppa’s too wet without one! That’s obviously what the fundraising committee at St George’s Church, Oakenrod, thought when they produced this very scrumptious-looking selection for their Midsummer Afternoon Tea. Thanks for all your hard work, ladies.

Hope our invitation to your next tea is in the post!

The St George’s Church committee includes Kay Emerson, Sheila Rush, Gill Sheppard, Gill Holt, Ann Scott, with Beryl Kershaw.

Golfing business

When TorFX’s Head of Business Development Colin Lawrence ran the London Marathon for us in 2012, he organised a company golf day as part of his sponsorship. The event was so well attended that between the golf and Colin’s run, TorFX raised nearly £10,000. The golf day has now become an annual fixture on the TorFX calendar. This April, the proceeds from the golf day and marathon participation beat last year’s total. Well done!

Regional fundraiser Roseann Boyce joined Team TorFX, which includes Stephen Corbett, Colin Lawrence, Joe Francis and Chris Morling.

Alice and Lucy go trekking

Doing a week’s work experience with our marketing team last year gave Alice Tawell (right) a flavour for how best to promote the work of The Children’s Society. So this summer, she and her University of Bath friend Lucy Wild undertook a charity trek in the Peak District. Alice said: ‘Thanks to our friends and families we managed to raise a massive £357.50 – doubling our original target. And we’re already looking forward to hosting a Bake and Brew in Bath this September!’

Choir in tune for fundraising

What a great effort from young choristers at St Mary the Virgin in Henley-on-Thames, who raised nearly £300 for us at their homemade gift and cake stall following their Palm Sunday Eucharist Service.

Oldham Relay for children’s centres

Student volunteers at our five children’s centres in Oldham ran from centre to centre in an eight- mile relay race to raise money for our work. Helen Durkin Kershaw, Placement Ambassador, said: ‘There was a fantastic atmosphere and although we were all nervous at first, the event was a great success and we managed to raise £800 for The Children’s Society’s children’s centres.’

Keep on running

Follow in the footsteps of Mo Farah, by signing up for the 2014 Bupa London 10,000 being held on Monday 26 May 2014 at: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/bupa10k.

... or biking

Get on your bike and take part in Ride London-Surrey 100 2014 for us in August 2014. Don’t miss out on this exciting event by signing up now at:  www.childrenssociety.org.uk/cycle.

In the next issue

We’re going to focus on what we’re doing about childhood poverty and how you can DO something fun to support vulnerable children and young people. 

 

Shop ‘til you drop

Who needs an excuse to go shopping when we can offer you so many different options? Here’s a wide variety of retail therapies – all of which make a big contribution to our work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people.

Two openings make 86

The opening of our new shops in Calverton and Westoe in mid-June, brings our total number of shops around the country to an impressive 86.

To find our nearest shop to you, please phone or email our Supporter Care team or look online at: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/in-your-area.

Attendees at our Calverton shop opening included Lady Mayoress of Gedling, Mrs Collis; Jane Guy, Dawn Bennet, Debbie Nickolls, Jade Cross, Chris Newbould, Janette Sheppard and Mayor of Gedling Borough, Bob Collis.

How niche!

For unusual or collectable items – there’s no place like ebay! And our site on this online retailer is no exception. We sell everything from the industrial to the luxurious - even rubber boots for dogs! Why not visit: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/The-Childrens-Society-Shop.

Golden anniversary

This autumn we’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of our first shop: Bristol, 8 September 1963. Watch out for details of how we plan to celebrate on posters in our shop windows.

Calendar 2014

We’ll be selling sponsored 2014 calendars in all our shops from early September. The calendars have been kindly supplied to us by Marketing and Print Solutions Limited. Any monies raised from their purchase will go towards our work with children and young people. Look out for the calendars in our shops.

Christmas card catalogue

Our Christmas card catalogue should have been enclosed with your magazine. If you didn’t receive it or want an extra copy, please tell our Supporter Care team (find their contact information in the conclusion and contact details section) who’ll post you another one.

Ordering your cards online reduces our administrative costs and there’s also a wider range to choose from. Please visit www.childrensociety.org.uk/christmas-cards and place your order today or pick up a copy of our catalogue in any of our shops.

Shop and drop

Watch out for our new retail campaign, designed to help keep our shops fully stocked. Unlike many charity retailers, we still rely on stock donated by the public rather than bought-in goods.

Please donate any unwanted items to your local Children’s Society shop or email Dominique Scott on dom@childsoc.org.uk with any stock- generating ideas you have.

Partners fighting child poverty here and abroad

We have shared values with our partner, Traidcraft. While we work with children living in poverty in England, Traidcraft is focused on fighting poverty in developing countries.

The company offers a variety of everyday fair trade groceries. They also stock a range of Christmas gifts, stocking fillers, festive foods, decorations and gift wrap. We receive 10% of the entire order value on all purchases made through our co- branded online shop: www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/childrenssociety.

Traidcraft’s range is also perfect for a Christingle event. Why not buy your sweets and dried fruit from them? They even have a pack of friendship bracelets that can be used as the red ribbon to go around the orange and then worn on the wrist after Christmas. Your youth group will love them! Quote ‘childs’ at the online checkout to get free delivery on any orders over £25.

Perfect gifts at any time of the year 

Emma Ball Ltd has created a lovely product range for us. Items include a tea towel (£5.95 each) as well as two attractive magnetic notepads (£3.50 each), which are perfect to use for your shopping lists or reminders. These make great all-year round gifts.  If you purchase Emma Ball items from our online shop http://shop.childrenssociety.org.uk/gifts-vouchers/ we get £1.60 on each notebook and £2.80 on each tea towel sold to support our work.

 

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
  • Ask a question about The Children’s Society
  • 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

Facebook:www.facebook.com/childrenssociety

Google+:   https://plus.google.com/+childrenssociety