Member News: Action for Children - Actor Jess Hynes: why I've joined the campaign for better childhoods
I remember my childhood as a time of happiness. Yet I know that not everyone is so lucky - some children have no one at all.
These days, we know better than ever how formative these years are. So it’s almost unbelievable that things seem to be getting worse - not better - for children in the UK. Yet a new campaign from charity Action for Children highlights that many children are missing out on the vital support they need to have a safe and happy childhood.
I’m adding my voice to the campaign because I believe this is unacceptable. Together we can urge the government to take urgent action now: to Choose Childhood.
Latest statistics show that 4.1 million children in the UK are living in poverty. As many as one in five have been exposed to domestic abuse. And there was a 38% increase in children in England identified at being at risk of harm between 2009/10 and 2017/18.
This isn't inevitable - we can help change things. By joining the Choose Childhood campaign, I'm calling on government to create a cross-government National Strategy for Childhood.
When Action for Children spoke to children, parents and grandparents as part of its research, it found the majority think childhoods are worse today than for the previous generation. Over a quarter of young people are worried about their mental health, and over a third about how they look. The charity is particularly concerned about vulnerable children and young people, such as those facing domestic abuse and deprivation.
Despite all this, services that help vulnerable children and families are being removed. Funding for children's services in England dropped by £3 billion between 2010/11 and 2017/18. Cuts like these are leaving children without support to face abuse and neglect, poverty and hunger.
But this isn’t inevitable - we can help change things. By joining the Choose Childhood campaign, I’m calling on government to invest in prevention and early help for families, close the £3.1 billion funding gap in local services, and create a cross-government National Strategy for Childhood.
As an ambassador for Action for Children, I’ve seen first-hand the difference that the right support can make. The charity runs more than 476 services across the UK, and supports 387,000 every year. But without government support, children continue to fall through the cracks. That’s why I’m choosing childhood - and I’m urging you to do the same.
Jessica Hynes is an award winning actor, director and writer, and has been a celebrity ambassador for Action for Children since 2007.
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