Children and young people threatened and suffering from abuse, violence, and exploitation; neglected and often homeless on the streets. They should be the concern of us all, as we are reminded by the Children’s Society who have been looking out for them for more than 140 years. And with our support, they will continue to do this, in the belief that each child deserves a happy and secure upbringing, with their future full of hope.
The Children’s Society is our focus for the final quarter of the year and on Sunday 7th November, we welcome Michelle Bayliss, their Volunteer Speaker for Buckinghamshire District. In preparation, we are arranging some displays in church and it is hoped that the JC Club will contribute some drawings and paintings. Also, we shall celebrate Christingle on Sunday 5th December at 3.00 pm, (details in next month’s Outlook). The Children’s Society was largely responsible for reviving this old tradition in the UK and it is another occasion when our youngsters show their ingenuity and imagination. At or around the same time the C.S. House Boxes will be collected for totalling.
We would please ask that as many readers as are able to do so should spend a little time looking at the excellent website published by the Children’s Society. This demonstrates and illustrates so much more than is possible in a short article like this. We suggest looking at some of the stories about, for example: “Children on the Move”, including those recently arrived as refugees and asylum seekers – sometimes separated from parents and family. Also, think of children, perhaps with only one parent, who are being “pushed from pillar to post” whilst seeking affordable accommodation and schooling. The boy whom the Society calls Ali is an example; now more settled, he grew up in poverty, living out of boxes. These youngsters are very unlikely to reach the stage of affording school uniforms together with pens, books, and certainly not laptops, whilst travel costs for their accompanying adult are often exorbitant. This problem has been of concern to the Society, with others, for a long time. Despite an Act of Parliament passed in April 2021, Department for Education guidance on uniforms for Schools is still awaited. Fortunately, many schools are already acting sympathetically on the matter. And in some locations, such as Leeds, for example, school uniform banks are already up and running.
School Uniform. From “Resources for Professionals” the C.S. Report “The Wrong Blazer.”
For those of us in fortunate family situations, another sad fact to consider is that there are youngsters acting as carers for siblings and adults at a very junior stage in their lives when even the full implications of their responsibilities are unknown or unmeasured. We read of these situations being common in developing countries and some of us have travelled enough to have seen it there, but truth be known, this is also happening here in the UK. The story of a “Young Carer” whom the Children’s Society calls Molly, is a case in point.
Whatever slings and arrows of misfortune affect the cases that the Children’s Society Support Workers deal with, they are trained to inject a strong dose of positivity into those coming into their care, avoiding at all costs engendering resentment and victimhood. Try searching within the Society’s website simply using the word “positivity” and you will find some astonishing stories.
The support workers emphasise that they assist children from all walks of life, and it goes without saying with the whole range of ethnicity of parentage and familial situations. We must remember that once children grow past a very young age, they are liable to internalise anxieties and worries. So they need encouragement to open up, to trust and to talk to those who are trying to help them.
Being positive around your children and other adults in front of them is important
Laura Reed, C.S. sponsored Support Worker for 13-18 year-olds in care but with prospects of being reunited with a parent.
Care for all children is the bedrock of Christianity and we can find plenty of support in the gospels for this mission – we may think of Jesus ensuring that His Disciples allow the little children to come forward. We may also think about the Good Samaritan, a man from a country and with a trade inimical to the strict Jews. But the Samaritan did not cross the road to avoid the victim. He wrapped him in his best cloak and left a promissory note with the innkeeper, to look after him until he fully recovered.
We are looking forward to hearing more about the wide-ranging and valuable work of the Children’s Society on the 7th November and throughout the forthcoming months and we do hope that as many Outlook readers as possible will be able to participate.