The Big Breakfast – 7th September
Following an excellent breakfast, we were pleased to host our speaker, Sue Burns, from the Children’s Society. Sue gave an insight into the history of the society and the focus of its current activities.
The Children’s Society was founded by Edward Rudolph in 1881 as the “Church of England Home for Waifs and Strays”. Edward Rudolph was a Sunday School teacher who was concerned when he found two of his pupils begging on the street. Known since 1982 as The Children’s Society, it maintains close contact with the Church of England, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York being Presidents. Its motto is “no child should feel alone”.
The society provided small homes where young children could feel part of a “family”. Later, it moved into fostering and adoption, as the policy moved from providing long-term residential care to encouraging a genuine home environment. Several years ago, the Children’s Society made the decision to concentrate their efforts on helping children in the 10-18 years age range. Children of this age are vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and illegal activities, especially those who have run away from home or are in poverty.
Sue Burns said that some 19 per cent of children inWest Sussex live in poverty. There are also children who have arrived in the United Kingdom as refugees or asylum seekers. Many, perhaps more than we know, act as home carers for disabled parents and siblings. The Children’s Society also helps support families in need where that would put children at risk, from factors such as debt, homelessness and crime. Many also have mental problems, which is often an unseen issue.
The society always welcomes people to help, including “be-frienders”, who work with children at a social or “fun” level, providing back up to the more formal work of social services and helping address the issue of loneliness among young people. The society’s main income is from voluntary fundraising, which can take many forms, whether through holding one of their home collection boxes, Christingles, coffee mornings or even carol singing.
My thanks go to all those who attended and to the many people who helped with the event and to Natalie and Jenny who catered for us.
I am the box collector for the Children’s Society in Copthorne and I am pleased that several people signed up to take a collection box home after the meeting. If you would like to hold a box, volunteer (e.g. befriending), or would like more information, please call me on 01342 714411.