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Young, talented, and born to campaign

Had you been sat in the lobby of our Farringdon office at 10.25am last Saturday morning, you’d have seen the fairly unusual sight of a small hoard of children rounding the corner from the tube and running full pelt towards the office as they caught sight of the familiar glass doors, and tumbling into the foyer, bright-eyed and bubbling with energy.

Giggling children on the smart, Pret-Eat-Costa-lined Farringdon alleys? On a Saturday? Unheard of!

This unusual apparition was the Save the Children London Ambassadors, here for their monthly meeting to plan and deliver a campaign on child poverty in London.

These children are all current or previous members of an In My Back Yard project. They are giving up every first Saturday of the month this year to pool their ideas, energy and talents to shout out about the issues facing young people in London today.

Although London is one of the richest cities in the world, a staggering 44% of London’s children live in households on incomes below the official poverty line.

The children in this group come from across London from very different places. But they all have one thing in common — they all live in areas with a lot of low-income households. Therefore they have first-hand insights and expertise on the big issues facing children living in these areas of London.

They also happen to be an extraordinarily talented bunch – artists, dancers, speechwriters, public speakers — you name it, they can do it!

The group’s chosen topic: Stereotyping of young people

The discussions soon got cracking. Children shared their experiences of being judged because of the area they live in.

“I would *never* tell anyone I come from xxx estate.”

“People think if you come from xxx area you must be less educated.”

The group brainstormed the biggest issues that can face a young person living in an area in London which is affected by high levels of poverty. They found that it can prevent children from being encouraged to achieve, from playing outside, right through to being able to get a good job.

No child should be told they are hopeless

After wolfing lunch (cheese, cheese and cheese with a bit of cheese sandwiches seem to be very popular among ten-year-olds), the group drummed out their campaign vision:

“Save the Children’s London Ambassadors believe that no-one should be told, just because they live in an area with a bad reputation, that they are nothing, that they are hopeless. Everybody should be treated equally. Everyone should be counted as unique. Then children will have easier childhoods, more opportunities, and all children can achieve their goals.”

“We think that stereotyping causes a lack of confidence in the minds of children living in certain parts of London. For those that live in these parts of London it is a major problem for them.”

“We are calling for:

  1. No child to be treated differently because of where they live.
  2. All children to have the same opportunities no matter where they live.
  3. An end to stereotyping of children who live in disadvantaged areas.”

The last task of the day was to come up with a list of key people to target with their campaign, and agree the campaign actions.

An hour and a last burst of brain energy later, this was done. Watch this space for the forthcoming petition, media stunt, dance, song, film, talent show, large public event, posters and leaflets — culminating in the fantastic Ambassadors Summit scheduled for November.

Find out more about our work in the UK.

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