The Children’s Society & Latest Trends

The Children’s Society & Latest Trends

In the late nineteenth century, Edward Rudolf, a Sunday school teacher and civil servant in South London led a deputation to the Archbishop of Canterbury and put forward a plan for the establishment of children’s homes as an alternative to the work house and orphanages that were common at the time. In 1881 the Church of England Central Society for Providing Homes for Waifs and Strays came into being. That organisation continues to this day, now known as The Children’s society.

An important aspect of the work that the Society undertakes today is researching trends, particularly on the 10 to 18 age group, so that politicians are informed when making policy decisions that impact directly on the lives of vulnerable children. This work is done both nationally and locally. Recently reports were commissioned for each parliamentary constituency and sent to all MPs. The reports make for tough reading.

There are currently 4 million children living in poverty in the UK, an estimated 3 494 in North West Hampshire, including the Andover area i.e. 15.4% of all children, and   2 544, 13% in the Winchester area. In 2015/16 5 206 children were reported missing to Hampshire Police. During the same period 2 115 children reported that sexual offences had been committed against them. An increasing trend, and one the current research by the Society highlights, is the proportion of 10 – 15-year-old girls who report that that they are ‘unhappy’- an increasing percentage of whom self-harm. Nationally around 19% of children in need are aged over 16.

A child that faces difficulties in one area of life is more likely to experience difficulties in another i.e. Children living in households that are struggling to pay the bills are more likely to suffer mental health issues. Poor housing may well also mean parents and children dependent upon handouts from foodbanks. The work of The Children’s Society brings to our attention the fact that vulnerable children exist in every community and every village and do so often hidden in plain sight.

Christmas focuses the gift of life in the birth of a new born child, a child born in difficult circumstances and whose later life would be far from easy. Nevertheless, that life was one surrounded by the love of parents and extended family, a love that spilled over into the wider community, which embraced ox and ass and the complete stranger.

This Christmastide, as you celebrate with loved ones, spare a thought, and a prayer, for the vulnerable child, they probably don’t live that far away from you. Give thanks too for the work of The Children’s Society. We will be supporting their work with donations from our Christingle Services.

God Bless     Mark