It’s one thing to lose your childhood by growing up. But it’s another to lose it while you’re still a child.
Deprivation, neglect or caring responsibilities can force some children to grow up too soon. Your Big Summer DO can help us offer these children a lifeline.
Francess' story: 'I never thought I would be able to do this'
Francess, a young person we supported, shares her story of how our help made a huge difference in her life.
'When I was younger I had to move to live with my grandma and uncle. They didn’t treat me well and used to hide food from me. I was stealing food and clothes because I had nothing. I got in with the wrong people, including drug dealers. I got pregnant at 15 and had an abortion. I then got pregnant again at 16. My life was really messed up and I had no hope. Then my grandma kicked me out at 17. I didn’t have a stable place to live, no money for food and I was just living life as it came.
'It was then that I found a leaflet from The Children’s Society. I gave them a call and they arranged to meet me and I told them what I was going through. They put me in touch with people who gave me stuff like beddings and clothes. And what was so amazing was they helped me to get on a scholarship programme that has allowed me to go to university and afford somewhere to live. I actually cried when I found out. These people didn’t even know me! They showed me they really cared and that life could be so much better. They treated me like family, like texting to see how I was getting on. I never thought I would be able to do this. Everything changed, literally in a couple of months.'
What can your DO do?
Francess’ story is just one example of the work we do to support a wide range of disadvantaged children, including young runaways, young carers, children in poverty, children in care and many more.
Our infographic shows the scope of some of the problems children in the UK face - eg 100,000 young people run away each year, 3.8m children live in poverty - along with illustrations that hint at the childhood memories that these children may miss out on.
You can help by organising a Big Summer DO this summer. Help us bring back childhood for disadvantaged children such as Francess.
Get involved - download our Big Summer DO guide.