THE Peace and Justice Network Column.
We are just getting reports from UNICEF that child poverty in this country on a worldwide scale was poor over the years 2006 to 2008. Now that we have had a massive cut in government expenditure goodness only knows where we feature in the table now.
Quite apart from the needs of the individual child which any dedicated parent, teacher and guardian knows is a time consuming role, there is a desperate need for each child to feel wanted and to find a place in society from an early age.
How many of the prisoners in our jails, how many people with mental health problems and perhaps applying to both, burying themselves in drugs, are the victims of lack of early years support and care.
Parenting skills and community support is of vital importance in our complex society of today. Being able to communicate how one is feeling and wanting is vital in learning about life with other people and the earlier children have confidence in that the better. It is one thing to have a statutory right as a child it is another to put it into practice.
Lifelong learning is a necessary part of a modern life style and to have an agile and enquiring mind is the benefit of being young; so we need to show them how to use the resources around them to find out what they need to know. One cannot all together know what the future holds, but in this age of information explosion no-one should be left behind in knowing how to access this and apply it to ones needs.
So I hope in MK, our community budget holders are not only protecting our front line services but as far as children are concerned are expanding the support of children outside the school experience as well as within it.
Parents who are struggling with parenting to the detriment of the child must have the confidence to access support so that the child is happy at home and happy in society.
Learning that life is a struggle applies to both parents and their children, but to know that you are not alone is of tremendous support.
However, throwing money at a problem is not all there is to overcoming what could develop into a worsening situation. We need the support of volunteering organisations with the necessary skills to apply themselves to the expansion of resources for children and young people.
We need young people to stay with us and not believe that life sucks and that they are better somewhere else.
Play and competitive sport is a vital ingredient of a child’s experience and wellbeing. We know how much better we feel after a gruelling experience on the field of sport, win or lose. Our sports facilities are a major investment in our community. Let’s hope we have the facilitators to make good use of them and show young people how to get the most out of their chosen sport. Youth clubs play a vital role with winter activities, as well as providing out of school and summer experiences.
There is a saying that your children are on loan, the implication is that they are all our children.
Let’s go forward with that attitude and hopefully the next UNICEF report is an improvement.