Unicef UK has today (Friday 4th October) launched an exciting new partnership with the London Borough of Redbridge to improve the lives of children living in the borough.
Leading council members will today make a series of pledges focusing on the rights and welfare of children to launch Redbridge’s journey to becoming internationally recognised as child friendly, aiming for Redbridge to become a place where children not only understand their rights but one where they also feel they have the ability and influence to shape services affecting them.
Specially branded buses will be touring the borough throughout the day inviting children and young people as well as the whole community to get involved and have their say in what a child friendly borough would look like to them.
Today’s activities kick-start a three-to-five-year partnership which will see the borough’s politicians, council staff, health providers, police force and others receive expert training and support from Unicef UK to ensure children’s rights are reflected in local policies, programmes and budgets.
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Elaine Norman said: “We want Redbridge to be a great place for families of all kinds. By working towards our ‘Child Friendly’ status we will continue to build on our commitment to ensuring the voices, needs and rights of children and young people form a fundamental part of our policies, services and decisions.”
Following today’s launch, the council will work with local children and young people to understand which areas or ‘badges’ they think should be prioritised to make Redbridge more child-friendly – for example feeling safe or staying healthy.
The council will need to show evidence of sustainable progress in six badges to be recognised as a Unicef Child Friendly Community. Progress will be closely monitored by an independent panel of experts in human rights, child wellbeing and public services, as well as an advisory board of local children and young people.
Naomi Danquah, Programme Director, Child Friendly Cities & Communities, said: “We are delighted to welcome the London Borough of Redbridge to the Child Friendly Cities & Communities Programme.
“These are challenging times for local authorities, but this partnership represents a bold commitment from the council and their partners to put children’s rights at the heart of everything they do – from early conversations around children’s spaces and services in Redbridge, to the day-to-day running of those services.
“We’re excited to see this partnership make a real and lasting difference to children’s lives in Redbridge.”
Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Kam Rai added: “We have chosen to work towards gaining child friendly recognition to demonstrate our commitment to deliver the best possible universal opportunities for our children, regardless of their background.”
London Borough of Redbridge joins six other councils in the UK taking part in the Unicef UK Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme, which works with councils to put children’s rights into practice.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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About Child Friendly Cities & Communities
Child Friendly Cities & Communities is a Unicef UK programme that works with councils to put children’s rights into practice. The programme is currently running in Aberdeen, Barnet (London), Cardiff, Derry & Strabane, Liverpool and Newcastle.
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.
The programme is part of Child Friendly Cities – a global Unicef initiative launched in 1996 that reaches close to 30 million children in 40 countries.
In the UK, Unicef provides training based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and supports 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 Child Friendly City or Community.
For more information please visit unicef.org.uk/child-friendly-cities
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK.
For more information please visit unicef.org.uk