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Well Being & Equality. Are We Failing Our Children?

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Hosted By
Francis S. and 2 others


The recent riots have brought ‘youth culture’ into focus once again. Child poverty is getting worse and unless something is done these problems is only set to increase. UNICEF study from 2007 placed the UK at the bottom of the child well-being league table ( among developed countries. But why did the UK come last, and why do children here continue to fare so poorly compared to other, similar countries? New research By Ipsos MORI for UNICEF UK has shown that children in the UK feel trapped in a “materialistic culture” and don’t have enough time with their families.

At this meeting we want to explore these issues that will affect the culture of our society in coming generations and to help us we have, Marshall is UNICEF UK's Public Affairs Director working on child rights advocacy. She manages a team working on research, policy, lobbying and public campaigning. The team works on both international and domestic child rights issues ranging from HIV and AIDS to UK child poverty. She was previously Advocacy and Representative Manager at BOND, the network of international development NGOs. working on advocacy to UK and European targets and linking the UK into the Global Call to Action against Poverty. Agnes Nairn is a researcher, writer, consultant and speaker who investigates issues related to marketing, ethics and children. UNICEF UK, Ipsos MORI and Agnes worked together to explore the reasons behind the statistics on child well being in the UNICEF Report by comparing children's lives and experiences in the UK with those of children living in Spain and Sweden. Agnes is Professor of Marketing at world-leading EM-Lyon Business School in France. She also teaches at RSM Erasmus University in the Netherlands and Hult International Business School in London. Hessami has been involved with UNICEF for some considerable time and has a specific interest in the UNICEF report on child poverty. It is with Ali's help that we have put on this meeting. Ali is interested in ensuring that our discussion on this subject does not end at just one meeting but that it continues. We have several other meetings during the year on education and we hope that there will be a theme that we can develop around child welfare and development. But Ali is also interested in creating some developmental work around aims, goals and influences that will allow us to map progress on making a difference on this issue. Ali will explain this at this meeting and explore ways that we can take this forward.

Much of the research shows that children and young people value family, friendships and outdoor activities far more highly than the acquisition of material goods. On the other, it found UK families struggling to spend time with children. It paints a picture of stressed, guilty parents, faced with pressures of work impeding the quality life they want to offer their children. The purchase of goods was widely used as a substitute for family activities and engagement.

This contrasts starkly with the picture in Spain and Sweden, where family time appeared to be woven into the fabric of everyday life. And by secondary school, the participation of British children in active and creative pursuits – pursuits that children said made them happy - had in fact dwindled, whilst this occurred less in other countries.

We seem to be failing as a society to provide the very things those children clearly express a need for. The findings of these reports should inform us how we as a society respond to the wider issues underpinning the recent riots and more generally how we create a fair and just society.

If you want to find out more about the details of the UNICEF Report then you can do so here ..... (

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