It's too easy for politicians to ignore children because they don't vote, but children are as much citizens as adults. In fact children need and deserve the attention of the powerful because they have no power themselves. Children England, the representative body for charities and voluntary organisations of all sizes working with children, young people and families believes it’s time to tell politicians that children can’t be ignored in anyone’s plans this year. We all have a childhood, and all children should be at the heart of plans for the future.
Children at Heart is an umbrella campaign organised by Children England for everyone who cares about children. Children England's members like Children North East have contributed to a manifesto but the campaign is much broader than a list of suggestions. The strength of social media enables anyone to connect with and contribute to this simple reminder to put the welfare of all children at the heart of politicians and voters intentions during the coming months and the next government.
My top priority in the campaign is that all parents should be paid the Living Wage. With two thirds of poor children growing up in families where at least one parent is in work, paying them the Living Wage would make a big difference to the lives of all those children. But I'd also like to see the next government commit all new policies to a 'Family Test' that assesses the impact of any initiative on family income, stability and wellbeing.
There is another meaning to the phrase 'children at heart' which reminds us that we have all been children, we know what being a child is like. Let's stay close to the unique perspective that children bring and try to be a bit more like 'children at heart' ourselves.
With that in mind, and it being World Book Day yesterday here is the Storyteller's Creed:
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
That dreams are more powerful than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.