founder of naked leader
Naked Leader Week – 47 -Monday 22 March 2004
Leadership from a different perspective – Tim Linehan – The Children’s Society
Leadership and campaigning for social justice
I lead the campaigns team at The Children’s Society. The Children’s Society is David’s chosen charity and you can find out more about us at www.childrenssociety.org.uk. David has invited me to write this issue of the Naked Week to coincide with the launch of Safe and Sound, our campaign to make England safe for young runaways.
Some Disturbing Figures
Around 100,000 children run away from care or home in England each year. Around 18,000 of these are under 11. Many of them are running from abuse, neglect or bullying. Many run more than once, every day 350 children run away. Around 15,000 are actually thrown out by their parents in an act of rejection that I can only imagine. Many sleep rough. Some fall into crime and drug taking or are forced into prostitution to survive. The longer a child stays away the greater the risk they face on the streets. All too often the choices available to them are neither safe nor sound.
Despite government guidelines issued more than a year ago, it’s still pot-luck whether these children get the help they need or are left to fend for themselves.
Safe and Sound
We are launching Safe and Sound to force local councils to implement these government requirements on young runaways. Once this vital first piece is in place, we will be campaigning to create a national network of emergency accommodation for young runaways. You can find out more about Safe and Sound on our website, www.childrenssociety.org.uk/safeandsound
We want to make sure that these children have safe choices available to them. We want to make sure they have somewhere safe to go and someone sound to talk to.
What has this to do with leadership?
We are asking our supporters and others to step into leadership within their communities, to open their hearts and act to help these vulnerable children. We are committed to helping these children. The more people who step up to this challenge the more effective we will be – and we believe that taking up the challenge will benefit those who do get involved.
On our website there are instructions on how you can get involved by emailing your local authority, completing our online poll or getting more involved as a campaign co-ordinator, organising others. Please visit: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/safeandsound
And for those of you outside England?
Are there young runaways in your country? How many are there? What happens to them? Who helps them? What could you do? What will you do? How will you be a force for change in your country?