Barnardo’s ‘Child in Cumbria’ Summit 17 – you said we did meet.

Barnardos Summit 17 – After the ‘Being in Child in Cumbria’ – You Said we Did


The Being a Child in Cumbria research designed, conducted and analysed by Barnardos was a significant piece of research. Over 6000 children and young people responded to the survey providing Cumbria with a comprehensive overview of the thoughts and feelings of Cumbrian children about living in Cumbria. The findings were also analysed through the lens of deprivation giving insight into the differences wealth and poverty can make to a child’s experience of living in the same county. If you have not seen the research then check out these you tube films about them:


So one year on, had anyone done anything differently as a result of this research – yes they have.


The conference kicked off with the theme of Giants – as this had been a giant survey. The lyrics of the Take That song ‘We are Giant’s set the tone for the day, as the children and young people involved, practitioners, leaders and managers all trying to make a difference are giants among us.


The issues that face children and young people were represented as boulders that the BFG’s (big friendly giants) among us would need to destroy or navigate. The aspirations of the children and young people were captured as dream jars – something we need to navigate towards single-mindedly.


The day celebrated a range of amazing achievements.


Copeland started the programme and really set the tone for the day. They have created a range of initiatives as a result of this research. One of these is setting up a food bank service that between 70 and 90people access each month – giving away a total of 3 tonnes of food per month.

The Connected Communities team from UCLAN got involved with Copeland and worked with 24 super heros from Mirehouse, aged 10-11 years old and 14 ‘Girls Gang’ community volunteers from Woodhouse, aged 11-12 years old. These young people conducted a range of research projects using creative methods and developed and delivered community development projects.


As a result of this work, Copeland now have a Children’s Charter that ensures that Copeland:

HearChildren’s Voices

Work with School Councils

Keep Children Safe

Change People’s Attitudes about Children

Support Children’s Health


A new project is about to start, connecting young people to older generations in the Youth Connectors scheme.

Copeland are really showing how to listen to what children and young people say, and how to work with children and young people in every strategic decision – taking the seeds from the research and growing great practice from it.


A striking theme from the research was children’s sense of loss after a bereavement. As a result of this, a Children and Young People’s Bereavement Network (CYPBANG) was set up. They have created a website resource that will be launched in June across Cumbria to support children to deal with grief and bereavement.

Child Bereavement UK picked up on this theme and showcased some of the resources they have to support children, parents and schools dealing with this difficult issue.


The Barnardo’s Youth Steering Group had also picked up on this issue and had created a leaflet about coping with pet loss that will soon be in all vetinarian surgeries. An excellent example of young people leading important practical changes.

Next up were Red Boxes team and Period Poverty North Cumbria, both leading crucial initiatives to get sanitary protection into primary, secondary, further education and higher education establishments. This will support the 1 in 10 young women who cannot afford sanitary protection, 49% of whom therefore miss at least one day of school a month.


Cumbria Children in Care Council shared their youth forum work with the participants and showed a film the group had made of their experiences of living in care. This gave a further example of positive outcomes from youth participation / youth voice.


What else?

Well alongside these amazing examples from practice, the participants also got to take part in some amazing activities. We made our own dream jars, took part in the ‘My Time’ team’s decision making exercise, pledged to use youth voice in our own work and identified our own ‘boulders’. And then there was the showcase of stands and lunchtime networking.

Much excellent work is underway, and it is not enough. There are many things to improve for young people and solving those problems is important. And we must remain focussed on the skills of children and young people to sort these issues for themselves. We must remain asset-balanced as well as participatory. And, we can’t forget the societal issues – the policies and laws, expectations and norms – that keep some people living in adverse situations, in poverty. So along with dealing with these issues I hope we also work to challenge poverty at the highest levels. To that end, please come to the Equalities Group Cumbria on the 28th May 2019 – University of Cumbria.

Screenshot 2019-03-23 19.01.39

Amazing event – thank you to Julie Fletcher of Barnardos, to the youth steering group who designed the day and to all the other ‘Giants’ of Cumbria who make such a different to children and young people.


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