Good Childhood Conversations
A better childhood for every child - improving public attitudes to childhood
Part of the remit for the Committee for Social Responsibility (CSR) is to encourage strong relationships within families and encourage churches to look beyond their own congregations to the needs of the local community. We want to encourage parishes to make their voice heard within society and challenge them to look at their own attitudes towards young people.
Following Frank Field’s address to our diocesan synod in March 2011, CSR has considered ways in which churches can help to prevent poor children from becoming poor adults. One of the ways is to pilot 'Good Childhood Conversations' in the diocese of Chester. ARE YOU INTERESTED in holding a ‘conversation’?
Please contact Ruth Mock for more information (Tel: 01244 681973 ext 232 / 07918 732803).
In 2006 The Children’s Society commissioned The Good Childhood Inquiry; the UK's first independent national inquiry into childhood. Its aims were to renew society's understanding of modern childhood and to inform, improve and inspire all our relationships with children. The report highlighted the issues and challenges which children and young people face and made recommendations for parents, teachers and the government to improve the experience of children in our society today. In addition to practical recommendations to encourage health and well-being, there was a strong emphasis on raising children in stable relationships as well as encouraging the development of spirituality.
Following the publication of the report, The Children’s Society introduced 'Good Childhood Conversations' to promote discussion of these issues in local communities. The conversations give local leaders and people from the community the opportunity to come together to discuss and understand the challenges of childhood today. The conversations encourage people to bring their own experience and attitudes to the debate, and to work together to make childhood better in their own communities.
What happens at a Good Childhood Conversation Event?
- Community-based events, held in a church, community hall, school or children’s centre.
- Held in the evening but daytime events are also possible.
- Lasts around two hours.
- Chance to reflect on modern childhood
- Discussion and debate
- Chance to consider consultation findings from local children
- Presentation on the key findings of The Good Childhood Inquiry
- Range of activities
- Chance to meet others and share ideas
- Opportunity to improve childhood in your community and beyond
Who runs the event?
The events are hosted locally, but will be run by trained facilitators from The Children’s Society.
The venue and refreshments are provided by the host but there is no charge from the facilitators for running an event.
Where ‘Conversations’ are already happening:
- Active in 15+ dioceses across the country
- Schools and churches
- Community groups
- Professionals groups e.g. the Foster Service
- Music festivals
- Children’s centres
- Uniformed organisations
- Clubs and societies…
What next? Take action…
Local events have produced different outcomes, reflecting the differing concerns and priorities within local communities. But there have been some common threads and a commitment to action at different levels:
- Individual - e.g. re-instate family meal times, spend more time with children, set clearer boundaries …
- Collective - e.g. Get to know the children on your street, support and encourage youth activities, be a part of improving childhood locally, host a follow up GCC to action plan
- Apply for a small seed grant - So far spent on a community day, a holiday club, inter generational work, a pop up café, a summer youth worker, a family week…
Why you should get involved?
- It will help us identify and challenge some of the attitudes within society which are detrimental to the health and well-being of young people.
- Commitment to action which arises from the discussion is rooted within the needs of the local community- a highly effective way of introducing and delivering change.
- Schools have found this an effective way of working with parents to improve the experience of children and to actively think about ways to make life better for children and young people.
- Adults attending a Good Childhood Conversation can apply for a small seed grant. So far these have been spent on a community day, a holiday club, intergenerational work, a summer youth worker, a family week and much more.
- Churches have found it helpful to take part in the discussions, making their voice heard within wider society as well as looking at their own attitudes towards young people
For further information:
Ruth Mock - Family Life Officer, Diocese of Chester. (Please get in touch for an informal discussion or to register your interest in becoming a pilot area.)
Cath Morris - The Children’s Society