News round-up

28 August 2013

children running in a fieldOur news roundup captures stories from our campaigning, our project work, fundraising and more.

This issue features:

 

Where there's a will, there's a way

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 events, 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 our legacies webpages 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 our Supporter Care team supportercare@childrenssociety.org.uk ">by email or call us on 0300  303  7000.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

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.

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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.

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Annabel Karmel

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.

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Coinstar MachineEmpty 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.

Find your nearest Coinstar machine by visiting our page about donating your spare change and use the machine location tool or call their freephone customer care line, 0800 328 2274.

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Thistle Hotels - 'kids triathlon'

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.

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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.

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Mobile phone

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 visit our page on selling your mobile, smartphone or IT equipment.

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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.

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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 - email our Supporter Care team.

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The Good Childhood Report 2013

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, or to see the dynamic online version of the report, visit our well-being page.

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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.

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Fair and Square logoWatershed 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 the campaign via our website or write to your MP using our template tool by visiting our Fair and Square campaign.

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.

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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.

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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.

Kym LamasCoronation 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 OuthwaiteTamzin, 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 our Fair and Square section.

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