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‘Change the language of poverty for young people’ is #1 call in Children in Scotland’s 25th anniversary campaign

Organisations across the children’s sector and beyond have joined Children in Scotland on its 25thanniversary in making 25 Calls (listed below) to improve the lives of children and young people in Scotland.

The number one call reads: “Change the language of poverty: young people deserve dignity, not stigma and discrimination”.

Chosen by young people supported by Glasgow charities PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid) and the GK Experience, the Call is focussed on the need to move away from tragic narratives about young people in poorer areas and recognise them and their communities as complex, with both strengths and challenges.

Making their call, Divine, Somer, Josh and Rebecca said:

“We need you, everyone in society, to think about how you use our story. We know this is not always easy. The media want to highlight the challenges, charities need to justify the great work that they do, and funders want to know that they are reaching those in need.

“But we want you to focus more on the achievements and difference that can be made rather than the problems we face.”

The full list of calls, ranging from specific policy demands to broader calls for cultural change, were unveiled at a campaign launch event and 25thanniversary celebration at the City Arts Centre in Edinburgh last night (10 October).

Other calls include: Introducing a £5 top-up to child benefit; reforming the Gender Recognition Act to better support trans young people; cutting cars from school drop-offs to improve air quality; and embedding understanding of autism in initial teacher training and ongoing CPD (following the findings of a recent report by Children in Scotland, Scottish Autism and the National Autistic Society).

Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, said:

“Our calls powerfully reflect the range of concerns amongst young people and those advocating for them in 2018, including the impact of stigma, the need for improved mental health support for children, and why we must recognise that tackling child poverty, abuse and neglect requires a collective effort.

“This campaign marks the extent to which children’s issues have been driven up the Scottish and UK Government’s agendas over the 25 years of our existence – and how continued partnership is the key to delivering on our joint ambitions to improve children’s lives over the next quarter century.”

Call 3, chosen by Children in Scotland’s children and young people’s advisory group, Changing our World, calls for all children and young people to be “able to, and know how to, get support with their mental health and wellbeing when they need it, without discrimination”.

It has been backed by Children 1stand Denise Coia, Chair of the Scottish Government’s Taskforce on Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health, who emphasise the importance of prevention in ensuring children and young people have the best standard of mental wellbeing.

Contributions to the campaign encompass experts across civil society, members and Children in Scotland partners, and the charity’s staff.

Articles by the contributors outlining each of the 25 Calls have been published in a special edition of the Children in Scotland Magazine, available from today, and will be shared on Children in Scotland’s website and social media channels over the next month.


Photographs of Divine and Somer from the GK Experience, who made our number one call, are available by request. The images are free to use with this press release and related news or feature articles. Please credit Andrew O’Brien.

Notes for editors:

  • The 25 Calls (and contributing organisations) are:
  1. Change the language of poverty: young people deserve dignity, not stigma and discrimination (the GK Experience, PEEK, and Inspiring Scotland)
  2. Make it your business to tackle child poverty (Professor John McKendrick, Glasgow Caledonian University)
  3. All children and young people should be able to, and know how to, get support with their mental health and wellbeing when they need it, without discrimination. (Children in Scotland’s young people’s advisory group Changing Our World, with Mary Glasgow, interim CEO of Children 1st, and Denise Coia, Chair of the Scottish Government’s Taskforce on Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health)
  4. To end abuse and neglect, live what we know: it’s everyone’s job to make sure children are alright (Brigid Daniel, founder of the Scottish Centre for Wellbeing and Child Protection and Dean of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management at Queen Margaret University)
  5. 16 and 17 year olds must be able to vote in all UK polls. Brexit proves this is a civil rights issue (Jackie Brock, CEO, Children in Scotland)
  6. Rights, wellbeing and love of learning must be at the heart of education for Scotland to truly be ‘the best place to grow up’ (Elaine Kerridge – Children in Scotland)
  7. Support the aims and work of the Care Review (Fiona Duncan – Chair, Independent Care Review in Scotland)
  8. Reform the Gender Recognition Act to give trans young people the chance to live full, happy lives (Jade Mulholland, activist and campaigner)
  9. Ensure Scotland’s next generation can lead active, healthy lives (Andrew Fraser, Linda de Caestecker and Sonya Scott – NHS Health Scotland and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde)
  10. It’s time to agree a common set of values in the digital world (Jess McBeath, consultant and trainer specialising in online safety and digital citizenship in Scotland and Scottish contact for South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) Trust)
  11. We need an economy underpinned by sustainability, innovation and social justice (separate contributions under this headline call from Dr Craig Dalzell, Common Weal, and Dr Graeme Roy, Fraser of Allander Institute)
  12. Support our pupils and teachers: embed understanding of ASN in initial teacher training and ongoing development (Scottish Autism)
  13. Support Children to become human rights defenders (Children and Young People’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson, with young campaigner Ruby)
  14. From homelessness to the Home Office, young people’s services must be humanised (young people from the Youth Community Support Agency)
  15. Top up child benefit by £5 per week to loosen the grip of child poverty (Child Poverty Action Group Scotland and The Poverty Alliance)
  16. Work together to build cultures where every voice is valued, and create a society free from bullying (respectme, Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service)
  17. Prioritise participation, integration and relationships to give children the best start (Children in Scotland and CHANGE: Childcare And Nurture Glasgow East)
  18. Take the next step in participation and food education: give communities the keys to school kitchens (Donna Borokinni, nutritional health consultant and trainer working in Glasgow)
  19. Launch a national effort to provide ‘Well Teenager’ clinics to support all young people who need it (Community Justice Scotland)
  20. Deliver a workforce that works for children: confident, skilled and values-driven (Children in Scotland, YouthLink Scotland)
  21. Invest in relationship-based whole-family support, not more parenting programmes (Parenting across Scotland)
  22. Build wellbeing into the design of our learning spaces to show young people they are truly valued (Architecture and Design Scotland)
  23. Let’s make Scotland a nation of Unfearties! (The Children’s Parliament, and Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
  24. Ensure all children can participate in high quality, innovative arts experiences from the earliest age (Starcatchers, Scotland’s National Arts and Early Years Organisation)
  25. Cut cars from school drop-offs to boost active travel and improve air quality for our children (Sustrans Scotland, the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle).
  • Children in Scotland, founded in 1993, is a national charity working to improve children’s lives
  • Media enquires to Chris Small, Communications Manager, Children in Scotland – 0131 313 8824 / 0751 998 2748 /
  • Contributors to the 25 Calls are available for comment on request
  • Copies of the articles explaining each call are available on request
  • The campaign hashtag is #25Calls and updates will be published on our website

25 Calls to change children's lives for the better

Find out more about the 25 Calls campaign here.

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Our Manifesto

Our Manifesto for the 2021-26 Scottish Parliament is backed by organisations from across the children's sector

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The Learning Guide – Winter 2018-Spring 2019

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