A day worth celebrating

Nikki Sharpe, Peter Liver and Julie Kenny
Nikki Sharpe, Peter Liver and Julie Kenny
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Calls are growing for the UK to recognise Children’s Day. Catherine Scott reports.

TODAY is International Children’s Day, celebrated across the world, but not in the UK.

Now Sheffield solicitor and founder of social enterprise Youth Can Achieve, Nikki Sharpe, has launched a campaign urging the Government to recognise the day.

The launch will take place at the first Children’s Day UK conference in Sheffield and an online petition. The conference will see child experts, organisations and charities debate issues related to children.

“We have started our Children’s Day UK campaign to get the 1954 United Nations Resolution on a Universal Children’s Day implemented here in the UK, and to make November 20 UK Children’s Day every year,” explains Nikki, who has the support of the NSPCC .

“This is an inaugural conference where we’re going to grow the children’s day idea and campaign. We hope to get this date firmly recognised by the government.”

The campaign also has the backing of Sarah Allkins, lead director of Chrysalis Foster Care and one of the youngest foster carers in the country.

“As soon as we heard about Nikki’s campaign, we wanted to be involved. We both run social enterprises – I founded Chrysalis Consortium fostering service and Nikki founded Youth Can Achieve for struggling and marginalised teens.”

Throughout November, Chrysalis plan several family fun, laughter and awareness-raising events for Youth Can Achieve’s campaign to have International Children’s Day officially recognised in the UK.

“We’ll be running a ‘name the bear’ competition, cakes and a home treasure hunt,” says Margaret Davies, fostering services manager.

Nikki says: “It’s fantastic that Sarah has offered to fundraise for Youth Can Achieve. We are so grateful to Chrysalis Fostering and wish them all well for the day.”

According to Shelter, this year more than 75,000 children will be homeless at Christmas and 1.6 million children are growing up in severe poverty according to Save the Children.

“Poverty is one of the growing issues of our day, not just because it’s wrong that any child grows up with less than enough, but because poverty itself hurts our country as a whole,” says Sarah.

Nikki says: “A national Children’s Day would celebrate our children and young people, showcasing the work they do in society and communities, as carers and our country’s future.

“It would remember the children who lost their lives due to neglect and abuse.

“The conference will collect views of children and adults, forming a Children’s Day UK coalition of interested parties to take forward policies around children and lobby government to address these issues for future years.”

The conference will be at the city centre Leopold Hotel from 10am and coincides 
with NSPCC Go Green day, when people across the city ‘go green’ to show support 
for children and raise awareness of child abuse and neglect.

Claire Reading, NSPCC community fundraising manager, said: “This is a fantastic idea. The NSPCC believes it’s everyone’s responsibility to listen to and protect all children.”

For more information visit www.childrensday.co.uk

Twitter@ypscott