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 theresearch 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, hear what they uncover and see life through young eyes