Nottingham bids to be recognized as a UNICEF ‘Child Friendly City’ in the UK

Nottingham has taken the first step on a journey in conjunction with children’s charity UNICEF UK towards international recognition as a child-friendly city.

The ambitious three-to-five-year partnership, made possible with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund’s Small Steps Big Changes (SSBC) program, will see councilors, council staff and local organizations ensure that children and young people help shape and guide decisions. that affect them.

As stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, local children will have their views heard and taken seriously. They will have a say in Council decisions – from major policies to the care they receive – as well as the opportunity to help design services and spaces.

This will be achieved through an advisory group where children and young people will represent their peers and meet regularly with Councilor Cheryl Barnard, portfolio holder for children, young people and schools.

In practice, being recognized as a UNICEF Child Friendly City in the UK means that children’s rights become part of public policies, programs and decisions.

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These can be municipal plans or the activities of other city stakeholders such as civil society organizations, the private sector, academia and the media.

To enable this discussion to take place, children and young people are asked which areas, or ‘badges’, they think should be prioritized. The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) has three mandatory badges – Communication, Cooperation and Leadership, and Culture. Three others will be chosen from:

  • Safe and secure
  • Flourishing
  • Education and learning
  • Participant
  • Innovation
  • Child-friendly services
  • Equal and included
  • In good health
  • Family and Belonging
  • Place

Conversations have already begun and will continue over the coming months. This is done through surveys and consultation events in schools, colleges, youth clubs, as well as working with parents and guardians to collect the voices of under-fives.

Councilor Barnard said: “We are so lucky to have fantastic children and young people in Nottingham and we want to hear their thoughts on how they want their city to be shaped, now and in the future.

“For a number of years now, we have had tremendous engagement through groups like the Youth Cabinet and the Council for Children in Care, as well as through our quarterly sessions of the Primary Parliament. This project aims to broaden the reach so that we can hear from even more young people.

“It’s really important that they feel part of the process as the Council and its partners make the decisions that will impact them over the next few years.

The Council will need to show evidence of sustainable progress across all six badges to be recognized as a UNICEF Child Friendly City in the UK.

This will be closely monitored by an independent panel of experts in human rights, child welfare and public services, as well as an advisory board of local children and young people.

If recognized as a UNICEF Child-Friendly City in the UK, Nottingham will join cities and communities in nearly 50 countries participating in this global programme.

Naomi Danquah, Director of the Child-Friendly Cities and Communities Program at UNICEF UK, said: “We are delighted to welcome Nottingham City Council to the programme.

“This partnership represents a bold commitment by the authority and partners to put children’s rights at the heart of everything they do – from the first conversations about spaces and services in Nottingham, to the day-to-day running of these services. .

“We are delighted to see this partnership making a real and lasting difference in the lives of children in Nottingham.”

Karla Capstick, SSBC Program Director, said: “We are delighted to partner with Nottingham City Council and UNICEF UK to support Nottingham’s journey to becoming a child-friendly city.

“This is an exciting initiative that will make a real difference for children and young people and is a key part of the SSBC legacy that will embed co-production and participation through rights-based practices across the city.”

Anyone interested in more information about the project can visit the website here or contact Nottingham Child Friendly City Manager Eky Ghansah at [email protected]

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