My name is Emma. I am 12 years old and have had cerebral palsy from birth. Earlier in the year I ran a focus group with the Richmond and Kingston Champions and Young People about children’s rights. This was part of a wider project run by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) to write a report to the UN about the state of children’s rights in England. This is a brief summary of my involvement. 

Back in February one of my friends from school and her mother contacted my Mum about this project on children’s rights. Mum told me and though I was at first reluctant about applying I recorded a video and sent it off. I had an interview with Maria Stevens, the person responsible for the children’s steering group and at the same time was told the details of the first meeting and the fact that I was selected. A few weeks later we had our first steering group meeting which was primarily about getting people up to speed on children’s rights and getting to know the other members of the steering group. The other members of the steering group were between 5 and 17 and came from a wide variety of backgrounds and each had a different angle on children’s rights. 

The second time we had a steering group meeting it was at a farm in Chippenham, where we stayed overnight and we fed the animals. During that residential we planned our research and were sorted into the different groups to get ideas together. I went into the writing and editing group whose duties included writing a blog about the project and coming up with an assembly speech. Then over April and May we gathered our research which consisted of focus groups (a discussion where a group of people respond to questions on a particular subject) in which a total of 137 children participated and 840 children responded to the online survey. One of these focus groups was the one that I ran that I described earlier.

At our latest meeting we wrote the report. The report was launched on July 1 in the UK parliament at an event hosted by Tulip Siddiq MP, unfortunately I couldn’t attend. We are going to present the report to the United Nations in Geneva in October.

The report contains recommendations decided on by the steering group. People should read the report because it sheds light on what is really going on in the field of children’s rights in England right now and what the Government should do about it.

Emma

9th July 2015 

There is also a short film to accompany the report.

You can also read the Civil society submission to the UN Committee which is from organisations which work with children in England.