As we enter 2021, it is safe to say that society is full of challenges. The pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities our children already faced. We can see that we may not be ‘all in the same boat’. This series will explore some of the major issues that are affecting children growing up today. A special guest will lead each conversation, exploring a different themes that will include the 'digital divide', mental health and estrangement from parents. They will be joined by someone specialising in the subject under discussion, along with Joseph Howes, CEO of children’s grant giving charity Buttle UK.
Richard Arnold learns about kinship care
This final episode in the current series is all about kinship care. This is when caring responsibilities for a child are taken on by extended family or friends because parents are unable to play that role any longer.
There are many reasons why children end up in such arrangements, it could be as a result of a bereavement or ill health, or because parents are having problems with drugs or alcohol. There are estimated to be around 180,000 children in these arrangements in the UK, but the rights and responsibilities of kinship carers is a complex area, and sometimes there is very little support available. It is often grandparents that take on the role, and they may be on low incomes and struggling themselves. The children will have had some difficult experiences in their lives, and this can add to a very challenging situation for their new carers. Nevertheless, the outcomes for children in these arrangements are reported as better than for those in statutory care. So, it is a vital way for children to be cared for at a critical time, and those that take on the role deserve recognition for what they do.
Joining TV presenter and journalist Richard Arnold to explore this important but underreported area further are Alec Robertson from the Kinship Support Team at Edinburgh Council and John Hamilton, Grants Development Officer for Buttle UK.
Stig Abell learns how boarding schools support disadvantaged children
This episode is about the use of boarding education to support vulnerable children. Buttle UK have been funding grants to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend boarding school for nearly 70 years. The idea might seem counter intuitive, particularly to those who have a particular image of what a boarding school is like. However, the outcomes for children are impressive. The GCSE results of the children Buttle UK supports are consistently above the national average, never mind those for comparative cohorts of vulnerable young people.
So, how and why does it work? And, as we emerge from the pandemic, is there anything it can teach us about how to address the growing education gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers?
Joining writer, journalist and radio broadcaster Stig Abell is Julien Andre and Mark Alexander, previous students supported by Buttle UK, and Adam Williams, Head at Lord Wandsworth College, who have a long history of supporting these sort of bursary places.
Peta Todd learns about parenting on a low income
It almost goes without saying, but raising children when you don’t have much money is tough. Most parents want the best for their children, but the pressures of raising children when you can’t afford the basics creates enormous stress. And when parents worry, their children worry too.
All of this is even more difficult if you are doing it on your own. Single parents do a brilliant job, and being a child to a single parent can be a wonderful experience, but paying the bills and juggling both work and family life is undoubtedly a huge challenge.
Join Peta Todd - writer, presenter, model and busy mum of four children – as she looks at what it means to be a parent on a low income and, in particular, the challenges, stigma and struggles of being a single parent. Peta is joined by Victoria Benson, CEO at Gingerbread, the leading national charity working with single-parent families and Buttle UK’s Joe Howes.
Anton du Beke learns about family estrangement and young people
Many families find themselves in situations where a member has cut ties. Research by the charity Stand Alone, shows that 1 in 5 families in the UK will be affected by estrangement - so this is a real issue affecting our society. Estrangement, however, is not an issue that is widely understood. Many young people who find themselves in these circumstances are overlooked, but they are often also very vulnerable having left chaotic, disrupted home lives. Many have suffered abuse.
There are no officially recorded statistics on the number of estranged young people in the UK. But judging by the number of applications Buttle UK receive, there are many thousands across the country who are living with no financial or emotional support from parents or carers. The COVID-19 crisis has hit this group of young people particularly hard, as even before lockdowns and restrictions came into place, they were under supported and highly isolated.
Strictly Come Dancing star Anton du Beke joins Becca Bland, CEO of charity Stand Alone, and Joe Howes of Buttle UK, to learn more about the issue of estrangement and what is means to be a young person living without the support of family at such an important time in their lives.
Jane Moore learns about the impact of domestic abuse on children
The last 12 months have created a situation that has dramatically heighted an already extensive problem. There are many reasons why domestic abuse takes place but the fact that people have had to spend so much time in their homes, often isolated and in situations of increased tension and stress, has created conditions that we know leads to more abuse. At the same time, support services have been under incredible pressure.
Join newspaper columnist and TV presenter Jane Moore, along with Louise Sparywatson from Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid and Beth McIvor from Buttle UK, as they explore this important subject and ask... What is domestic abuse? What is it like for children to live in homes where abuse is taking place? What support is available to help children overcome such a painful and traumatic experience? And what impact has the pandemic really had on this issue?
Greg Rutherford learns about children and their mental health
“Behind the locked doors of the nation lurks an invisible menace – one where there is no test like there is for COVID-19."
This episode focuses on the mental health of children and young people. In a world that seemed to be creating a myriad of problems for children’s wellbeing even before the pandemic, how big is the problem now? How is it manifesting itself? Are we really facing a crisis?
Join celebrity host and Olympic Gold medallist Greg Rutherford as he explores this important subject with Joanna Holmes, from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Joseph Howes, CEO of children’s grant giving charity Buttle UK.
Greg, Joanna and Joe consider a wide range of issues including the link between children’s mental health problems and poverty; the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns and the role schools and parents can play in supporting children to recover.
You can find out more about the BACP Campaign to get more counsellors into schools, discussed in this episode, here: bacp.co.uk/news/campaigns/school-counselling
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