The UNICEF UK programme is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This relates to all children and young people under the age of 18. However, for vulnerable children and young people, including those looked after or that have special educational needs, the programme would cover young people up to the age of 25. In Lambeth we would like to include all children and young people aged 0 to 25.
Lambeth are excited to embark on the journey to becoming a child friendly community and want to work in partnership with other services, organisations, communities, local businesses and most importantly children and young people to understand their priorities for the programme and help shape and deliver our programme.
Why is Lambeth embarking on this ambitious journey?
With relatively high levels of poverty, violence, obesity, inactivity, ill health and air pollution affecting many of Lambeth’s children and young people we want to do more to ensure people growing up in our borough get a better start in life. As part of those efforts Lambeth has applied to become a UNICEF UK Child Friendly Community.
It is important to note that this is not solely a Lambeth Council children and young people’s directorate initiative – this must be a partnership between children and young people themselves, their families and communities, the voluntary and community sector, business and public services including the NHS, police, fire, schools, armed forces and anyone else concerned about the safety, health and development of children and young people. We will ensure that children, young people and their families are at the heart of our planning, delivery and evaluation and that this programme underpins everything we do with the rights of the child at the centre.
Some of Lambeth’s children and young people have come together to make a film about the programme and to encourage people to get involved.
A music track was developed by young people which talks about children’s rights and is called ‘Future’.
What UNICEF UK are telling us:
- Children are largely excluded from public decision-making processes with no voting ability
- Children have limited power or space to speak on their own behalf
- Responsibility for children tends to be fragmented across departments and agencies and their visibility in official processes is low
- Children make more use of and depend more on public services than adults
- There is a high probability of adverse effects on children when those services fail them
- Children have less access to complaints mechanisms, remedy and redress
What we want to do:
- Raise the profile of children’s issues in Lambeth
- Make children ‘visible’ in decision making processes that affect them
- Raise awareness and understanding of children’s rights across Lambeth
- Bring research evidence and analysis to bear on local decisions that affect children
- Provide greater clarity about budget allocations that impact on/support children
- Make decisions informed by those whom they will directly affect
- Improve joint working across services and agencies by considering impacts on the whole child rather than a programme or service.
Through the programme Lambeth want to ensure children and young people:
- Understand their rights
- Have their voices and needs heard throughout Lambeth
- Are involved in decisions that affect their lives and have the ability to influence and shape the spaces in which they live and play and the support and services that they may need
- Have the skills and support to constructively challenge and campaign when their rights are being overlooked
- Are aware of the support available and are able to access it when needed