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A advocacy

L liberty

U understanding

N nurture

A aspiration

Aluna Behaviour Consultancy
Newsletter No.10, January 2023

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The last few years have been extremely challenging for us all. The dark cloud of Covid-19 continuing to hang over us, the instability of the education system for our children and the cost of living crisis are significant worries for most of us. Let's hope that 2023 brings us a world of love, peace, prosperity, hope and happiness; particularly for our young people. Many of us don't know it, but a constant staple and beacon of hope since 1881 has been The Children's Society.

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Edward Rudolf was a 29 year old Sunday school teacher in South London. When two of the boys didn't arrive one Sunday, he found them begging for food on the streets. Their father had died and their mother was struggling to care for her seven children under the age of eleven. So he decided to do all he could to improve the lives of children in need. With the help of the church and backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, he founded what was known as The Church of England Children's Society.

The origins of many services stem from Edward Rudolf's work, which included building children's homes and residential nurseries; some of these housing Jewish children from Germany and Czechoslovakia. Much of the work of The Children's Society now is about helping young people to be resilient. They campaign for social justice; changing laws on health care, housing, social welfare, education and social care. There have been many initiatives during this time:


  • Make Runaways Safe Campaign: 40+ local authorities committed to making changes to protect young people who run away from home

  • Fair and Square: called on the Government to extend free school meals to all children living in poverty

  • Behind Cold Doors Report: identified that the families of almost 2,000,000 children needed help with their fuel bills, leading to a change to the Warmer Homes Discount criteria

  • Disrupting Exploitation: gives a better understanding of the impact of exploitation, improves relationships of young people with their family and friends

  • Climb Programme: helps young people to learn new skills, stay active and make positive choices; this reduces the risk of them being involved in criminal gangs

  • Preventing Child Sexual Exploitation: to stop thousands of young people being groomed and sexually abused

  • Children at Risk of Exploitation (CARE): provides therapy sessions and parental support

  • Ending Child Poverty: including free school meals, affordable uniforms and financial support for families in crisis

  • Young Carers: ensuring that young carers have the same opportunities in life as those who don't have to care for others

  • Child Advocacy: helping young people to understand their rights, make informed decisions and let their voices be heard on issues that affect them 


The Children's Society have campaigned tirelessly on behalf of children and young people for over 20 years. Thanks to its many supporters, £1.4 billion was secured through campaigning to help families in crisis. 1.9 million children now have access to free school meals, billions of pounds in funds has been secured for struggling families and cheaper school uniforms are now required by law. £1.4 billion was secured through campaigning to help families in crisis and ​530,000 families were given time to pay their debts after the Breathing Space campaign. By working together, we can all build a fairer society which works for all children.

Ongoing campaigning includes:

  • Protecting Families: practical support for children and their families through the cost of living crisis

  • Fund The Hubs: mental health support for the hundreds of thousands of young people being held on waiting lists while their needs increase

  • Unaccompanied Child Refugee Guardians: supporting the Youth-Led Commission on Separated Children to keep these young people safe

  • Prevention Programme: spotting the signs and responding to the worrying number of cases of County Lines and Child Criminal Exploitation

  • Preventing Online Exploitation: helps to give young people the tools to spot warning signs and get out of potentially harmful situations

  • Substance Misuse: supporting young people where they or family members have substance addiction issues

The Children's Society is a national charity made up of a range of 560 staff members and up to 9,000 volunteers.

Chief Executive - Mark Russell

Mark took up his role in 2019. I grew up in a really tough time in Northern Ireland and I saw how hope helped our community get through this period. Hope encourages, hope inspires, hope dares to believe that tomorrow can be better.  We see hope in the heart of every young person, even when that hope only hangs by a thread. We fight for young people to have hope, because it will give them the confidence to believe they can make a difference. When we empower young people to hope, we empower them to thrive, not just survive."

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There are Executive Directors, Committee Members and Trustees.
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Committee Member and Trustee - Nasima Patel

Nasima is a Social Worker who led on the early development of services for sexually exploited and trafficked young people nationally for which she received a lifetime achievement award.  Nasima is currently leading the Child Protection and Children in Need services in Newham. 

"Hope means a life that is lived in colour, with kindness, care and laughter. This can only be achieved in a just and caring society which we are building. The Children’s Society always put the needs and rights of children and young people at the centre of all it does. We work with passion, intellect and creativity to give all children a good childhood."

Young Trustees help make up the team of passionate people working together to restore young people’s hope for the future. They bring and fresh perspective, speak up for young people, give them a voice and represent today's tech savvy generation. 

Young Trustee - Abby with Pepper

She is a young trustee with a passion for assistance dogs and equality law. Her dream is to run a Scout group for young people with disabilities. She hopes to  bring visibility to young people with disabilities and believes young people can change the world  by working together to shape the world they want to live in.

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Across the organisation are Service Managers, Team Managers, Admin Staff, Project Workers, Campaign Officers, Support Managers, Community Relationship Managers and a range of Practitioners working in collaboration.

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Community Relationship Manager - Rachel Brockie

"My region covers the West Midlands area, primarily  Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Birmingham, Warwickshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire.  My role has a wide remit, and tends to be very varied.  I work with those interested in learning more about the work of The Children’s Society, with the view to lending support through volunteering, fundraising and donations, supporting our campaigning work and when in a faith based setting, also through prayer.

I can be training a new Volunteer Speaker on a video call one moment, and attending a Carols, Canapés and Champagne event in a stately home later in the day.  Committees, Fundraising Groups and Supporters never cease to inspire me, from riding a bicycle from Lands End to John O' Groats, to running in the London Marathon, from organising a quiz evening to holding a coffee morning in a small front room of a home. 

I particularly enjoy working with educational settings who have decided to support our work for an agreed period of time – so many aspects of fundraising make great additions to future applications for students. It is always good to have an opportunity to raise awareness of the many tools that are freely availably from The Children’s Society to support young people to navigate present day childhoods. I have such a rewarding and satisfying role, knowing that those that I work with are helping The Children’s Society to transform the hopes and happiness of young people facing abuse, exploitation and neglect."

Retail Volunteers help run The Children's Society charity shops across the country. Service Volunteers directly support thousands of young people to be safer, happier and heard. Office Volunteers work behind the scenes on campaigns and fundraising. Over 5,000 Community Volunteers hold events, deliver talks, coordinate donations, influence decision-makers and encourage local people to take action for children. Every act, however small, can make a big difference.

Retail Volunteer - Phil

He has been a volunteer for over 60 years. "I'm always delighted when some of our staff who are unemployed get employment as a result of working with The Children's Society. You see, the shop in Whitehaven, we have training and they get NVQs so this gives them the opportunity to get a job when they were having difficulties getting a job, which I find is great. I love that, that they can get out and find jobs elsewhere, that's the best part."

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Volunteers support in a number of other roles. Befrienders in the refugee and migrants service, Speakers raise awareness of the work of the charity and Community Ambassadors collaborate with various groups and organisations. Others help to support the wellbeing of young people with mental health needs.

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Wellbeing Volunteer - Fatima

She has supported in the drop-in mental health service for two years. "I walked past 'Pause' quite a few times and was just curious. When I found out more about the service and the role it seemed like a solid cause. My role mostly involves listening and hearing young people out on whatever it is they want to talk about. Then, we figure out the next best steps together – working out what might help them feel better and signposting them to places that can provide what they need. I also speak to schools and the general public about why mental health matters."

The scope of The Children's Society's work is far-reaching. It shares essential data, experiences and young voices from which government agencies, national organisations and some corporate social interests take a lead. In 2020, along with the National Crime Agency's work on Child Criminal Exploitation, The Children's Society was consulted on the storyline in 'Hollyoaks' - a popular series for young viewers - about  County Lines. It raised public awareness of how vulnerable young people can be easily manipulated into criminality, in rural areas as well as in large cities.

The Good Childhood Report 2022

Last year’s report has again been published in a period of unprecedented uncertainty for children, young people and families in the UK as society continues to navigate through new Covid variants, a cost of living crisis, and the impact of global events such as the war in Ukraine and the current culture in place. They often feel powerless and unheard. The findings show that young people are on average less happy with their life as a whole, school, friends and how they look than ten years ago. Young people are telling us what needs to change and we must listen. The key findings are:

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  • UK children’s happiness with their lives continues to decline - 1 in 9 have low wellbeing

  • More children are unhappy with their appearance than with family, friends, school and schoolwork. Girls are more likely to feel this way than boys - almost 1 in 5 (the equivalent of 411,000) 10 to 15-year-old girls are unhappy with their looks compared to 10% of boys

  • Happiness with school and schoolwork declines noticeably with age, and was significantly lower among children in lower income households - 1 in 8 were unhappy with school 

  • Over half of parents and carers feel that the pandemic has had a negative impact on the education of their children

  • 85% of parents and carers are concerned about the impact of the cost of living crisis on their household over the next 12 months, which will only get worse as this crisis unfolds

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As a society we’re all gravely concerned. We owe it to this generation and the next to take action right away. The Government must take accountability for children’s unhappiness with school and put them at the centre of all proposed reforms. We need to see a faster rollout of specialist mental health teams, alongside early support hubs in every community so that no young person has to wait for the help they deserve. There must also be more support for families hardest hit by the added pressures of increasing costs. For lots of useful information go to the Advice Hub.

The Youth Voice on Exclusions Report published in 2021 produced valuable information to other agencies supporting children. In this report, 11 young people across England shared their experiences of school exclusions in a variety of ways. They reported positive and negative experiences of exclusions, as well as their ideas to improve the system. Their experiences highlight a power imbalance where, due to the school systems and the mindsets in place, children often feel powerless and unheard.

Some young people see the link between permanent exclusion from school and being at risk of exploitation. They recognise that an increased susceptibility may occur due to:

  • Spending lots of time outside of education because of an exclusion or part-time timetable

  • Living in a deprived community

  • Being in Alternative Provision such as a Pupil Referral Unit rather than a mainstream school 

Some described a feeling that they didn't 'fit' well into the school system. One young person said: "I changed as a person, the system didn't change." There are important messages in what young people have said about how the school system can change for the better, so that everyone feels like they fit.

These include:

  • Being better at listening to young people and the adults at home

  • Being more flexible with the rules because every young person is different

  • Helping build and support important relationships like friendships between young people, between teachers and students and between school and the adults at home

  • Understanding that sometimes young people feel powerless at school​


For many of the young people school exclusion was just one of the challenges in their life and circumstances in and out of school that impacted on each other. What they experience outside of school can affect their ability to engage with school life to the extent that it can lead to them being excluded. Also that exclusion exacerbates the challenges they are already struggling with in their home life or community.

Young people spoke about exclusions impacting on their hopes and aspirations about the future and whether they feel able to fulfil their further and higher education plans. We found that the disruption to education as a result of an exclusion can be significant and lead to young people feeling ‘written off’ and demoralised.

The correlation between school exclusion and criminal behaviour leading to custodial sentences is significant. Research by the University of Edinburgh shows that the male prison population includes 63% of inmates who were excluded from school. Therefore educational settings, local authorities and youth services should use this information to explore better experiences and outcomes for such vulnerable young people.

Click here for the full report: youth-voice-exclusions.pdf ( 

How you can help The Children's Society ...  

  • Donating money

  • Volunteering in a role that suits you

  • Campaigning for causes

  • Fundraising collections

  • Organising a fundraising event

  • Donating clothes and quality items

  • Supporting their local shops

  • Visiting the online Ebay shop

  • Gifting a donation in your will

  • Taking part in charity challenges

  • Become a box coordinator

  • Holding a Christingle event or service

  • Visit The Children's Society | UK children's charity ( for more information

And how they can help you ...

  • Support for you if you're a young person in need

  • Supporting a young person you know or work with

  • Giving talks to schools or community groups

  • Protecting children's rights

  • Facilitating child advocacy

  • Giving support to young carers

  • Supporting missing children who have run away

  • Working with children in care

  • Supporting care leavers into adulthood

  • Working alongside schools and professionals

  • Supporting refugees and asylum seekers

  • Protecting children from exploitation

  • Supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health needs of young people

Many people are unaware of the work of The Children's Society. If you have found the information in this newsletter helpful and informative, please forward the link: Newsletter 10 | Aluna ( to someone else who might benefit too, or direct them to The Children's Society website: The Children's Society | UK children's charity (


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A good childhood is something every young person deserves.

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