29/09/2016 07:09 BST | Updated 28/09/2017 06:12 BST

We Need To Believe In Children Now More Than Ever

2016 is an historic year for Barnardo's as we mark our 150th anniversary.

We are one of the oldest and largest children's charities - and we have a remarkable and pioneering legacy to live up to. We want to mark our anniversary by showing it's possible to transform the lives of millions more children and families, with the public's support.

We know our support is needed more than ever. We are seeing the demand for our work rise, yet the funding available is increasingly restricted. Against a backdrop of increasing child poverty, a more diverse population and new online risks to children's safety, we are launching our new ten-year plan.


This ambitious plan has come from 18 months of analysis, including consulting with Barnardo's staff, as well as the children and young people who use our services, in order to understand the pressures and stresses they face. It will enable us to increase the number of young people, parents and carers we support, and never turn away a child that needs us.

We currently work with 248,000 children, young people, parents and carers. We know we need to increase our reach from thousands to millions over the next decade.

We'll work to transform the lives of children and young people through focusing on stronger families, safer childhoods and positive futures for young people.

We'll create stronger families through continuing to provide integrated early intervention support to the families who need it most. By growing our early childhood services, including Children's Centres, we can support more parents to provide the best start for their children.

We will create safer childhoods through our services that work hard to prevent and protect children from child sexual exploitation, domestic violence and trafficking. Wherever we work, there is always high demand and we believe that many more children and young people are not receiving the support they need. Our prevention and protection services must continue to expand.

We will create positive futures for young people through our support and services for young people - care leavers are one of the most vulnerable groups in society. These young people are expected to become independent abruptly at the age of 18, but are often unprepared and lack the right support networks. We want to increase our services to help care leavers and other vulnerable young people to help them fulfil their potential. This includes advocacy, assistance and advice with accommodation, education, employment and training, and support with health and wellbeing.

To do all this, we need to double our fundraising income, and recruit 10,000 more volunteers. In light of that, we have launched our new Believe in Me campaign. You might spot the adverts on TV or online.

This campaign signals the the start of our ten-year programme of work and represents a new movement that shows incredible things happen when you believe in children. With our support, young people across the country can fulfil their potential and overcome the adversity and challenges they face.

The importance of self-belief and encouragement from those around us was brought home to me recently when our survey of 4,000 parents and children shone a light on the level of self-doubt amongst young people today.

Worrying findings showed that 88% of young people lack confidence in their future, and half of parents agree that there is more pressure on young people today than when they were young. We need to act now and let children know that we believe in them and their future.

Our plan is ambitious, our work more complex and the need more urgent than ever before. And we won't achieve it alone.

Now is the time to show children and young people that we believe in them. To find out more about our Believe in Me campaign, and how you can help, visit

Join the discussion by searching #BelieveInMe on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.