Posted: 04 September 2019

Step through the changing rooms of what modern childhood can be

Our Store of Modern Childhood, open for two days last week, brought to life the unsettling findings of this year's Good Childhood Report. The products on display represented the challenges children and young people face on a daily basis, including poverty, knife crime, bullying and sexual exploitation.

Emma, who was volunteering at the store, gives her take on the public's reaction to some of the products on show. It was a mix of shock, anger and intrigue. 

Just a normal day in London

Lots of people are walking around - to the office, to lunch, to the underground – just regular day in central London. A new ‘Store of Modern Childhood’ has opened up by Baker Street. But as passers-by get closer, they look twice and stop. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill store. This isn’t a normal day in London. 

Reactions to the Store of Modern Childhood

As they see a child-size stab vest and soiled uniform ‘for sale’ in the window display, the expressions on their faces were of shock, anger, intrigue and confusion. For many, curiosity got the better of them and they simply had to find out what was going on.

I explained that the ‘store’ isn’t real – it’s an installation that brings to life the recent findings from our Good Childhood Report and each product aims to raise awareness of what could happen if young people are not listened to. I was saddened when a few parents and professionals actually came in with the intent to buy stab-proof vests. I thought to myself, ‘is this really the world we’re living in now? Has the stab-proof vest become a modern day essential?'

Light, colour, positivity and optimism

For everyone I spoke to, my mantra became 'it doesn’t have to be like this. This isn’t what being a child should be about. We, as a society can turn this around. Go through the ‘Changing Room’ to see what life should be like for children. Through there is a room full of light, colour, positivity and optimism - the essence of being a child.' The more I said it, the more I genuinely felt it.

Young people in gallery of optimism

As people strolled through the ‘Changing Room’, their mood lifted. The colours, the poems, the artwork, the messages - all created by children and young people shows that no matter what they’re going through,  their enthusiasm and positive energy is still there.  We can bring this optimism to the fore. If more people listen to what children say about their lives and show them they matter, we don’t have to live in a world where the ‘Store of Modern Childhood’ is a reality.

‘I am looking forward to seeing how far I get in life and what I can achieve’ - young person

We can live in a world where children are excited about their future, be free to be who they want to be, build long lasting friendships and live without fear. A world where they can thrive and enjoy their childhood.

How can you help?

We’re asking everyone to show children and young people they’re listening and that what they say matters by pledging their support.

 PLEDGE #IHearYouth 

By Emma
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