About Child Friendly Cities & Communities
What we do
Child Friendly Cities & Communities is a UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) programme that works with councils to put children’s rights into practice.
The programme aims to create cities and communities in the UK where all children – whether they are living in care, using a children’s centre, or simply visiting their local library – have a meaningful say in, and truly benefit from, the local decisions, services and spaces that shape their lives.
We provide training based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and support councils, their partners, and children and young people, as they work together on an ambitious three-to-five-year journey towards international recognition as a UNICEF UK Child Friendly City or Community.
Over 700,000 children in the UK are growing up in a city or community taking part in the programme
Why we do it
Councils and their partners – such as the police, health services, community organisations and volunteers – play a huge role in shaping children’s lives through the local services and spaces they provide.
These include services that every child might use – like schools, libraries or leisure centres – through to more targeted services, such as protection from abuse and neglect, accommodation for children who are looked after by the council, or services for children with disabilities.
Children’s experiences of these services have a significant impact on their lives, yet few are run or designed with children’s rights in mind. This means they often fall short of what children need to truly feel safe, heard, cared for and able to flourish.
The situation for children in the UK
At the same time, significant funding cuts to children’s services have left communities struggling to support the rising number of children and young people in need of help. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened child poverty and inequality in the UK.
We believe using children’s rights helps councils to make better and more effective decisions – including how to build back better with and for children and young people.
Read more about how we work across cities and communities.