Posted: 24 May 2012

Young people meet minister in support of International Missing Children’s Day

In advance of International Missing Children’s Day, two young people from our programme in Keighley spoke with Lynne Featherstone, minister for equalities and criminal information, about their experiences of running away.

The young people told the minister why they ran away, their experiences away from home, the dangers they faced and how they were treated by police.

The young people spoke to Lynne Featherstone as part of our Make Runaways Safe campaign, and in support of International Missing Children's Day. Please join us on Twitter today in support of Missing People’s big tweet to support missing children.

Please read the young people’s thoughts on the meeting and their visit to London.

Grace’s story*: ‘I had never been into an office before that had a tree in it!’

Even though I had to get up at 5.30am I was very excited about heading down to London. My project worker picked me up at 7.30 and we began our journey.

We got to London at 11.00 and my nerves were jangling as we went to The Children’s Society head office. I sat there thinking that I had never been into an office before that had a tree in it!

Then the minister came in and I thought I looked quite scruffy in comparison but she made me feel very comfortable and at ease.

The day went by very quickly and it was a shame I didn’t get to see any of the sights in London. Overall it was a very enjoyable experience and I hope other young people listen to what I said and can learn from what I have been through.

Amy’s story*: ‘I had never met someone this important before’

I got up at 6:30am and sat waiting for my lift. I had never met someone this important before, never mind going to London to meet them.

A McD’s breakfast was a good start to the day at Leeds, where we met my project worker. I was very nervous all the way down and wondered what was going to happen when I met the minister.

The minister was nice and easy to talk to.

Then I got interviewed for radio. Again, this was the first time I had been interviewed and now I felt important that these people wanted to listen to me. Though my voice was very shaky.

We had time for pictures outside of Kings’ Cross station, and I got a picture of the Underground sign that was a good souvenir of the day. Then we headed home.

Minister's thoughts on the meeting

After meeting with Grace and Amy, Lynne Featherstone said: ‘I have been very impressed with the two young girls I met, who have grown into articulate and intelligent young women with the help of invaluable local support from The Children’s Society.’

Speaking about the government strategy on missing children and adults that she is in charge of and the support that should be provided to young people, the minister said: 'Projects like those run locally by The Children's Society are a lifeline for young people and just the kind of local contact the strategy advocates. Hearing the views of children and young people has renewed my determination to ensure we are doing all we can to help and support them.'

By Ellen Broome, Public Affairs Manager

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* Grace and Amy are not the young people’s real names.

By Ellen Broome - Policy team

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