We met Laurence Guinness at a 1% For The Planet get together earlier this month.

From chatting with him It became evident that the extent of childhood poverty in London was way bigger than we anticipated. Approximately 39% of children living in London are categorised as living in poverty - that equates to a staggering 800,000 children. This has seriously detrimental effects on their childhood health and development.

London itself is one of the richest cities in the world but it also has one of the highest child poverty levels in Europe. A huge disparity between the rich and poor which only seems to be getting wider. Something that has struck a chord with their patron Edward Enninful OBE, Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue.

And these are not the children of the unemployed - these are the children of working parents - in fact 75% of the 800,000 are from working families.

Laurence Guinness

Laurence Guinness (Chief Executive of The Childhood trust pictured above) and his team have developed a new 2023 – 2026 impact strategy called "Prepared for Life"  which provides a framework to meet the needs of those 800,000 children living in poverty in London.

Laurence says "Our work is focused on four priority areas of need below: 

1) Physical Health - we make sure that Children have access to hot and nutritious meals, particularly during school holidays, that they have equitable access and promotion of good quality, safe physical leisure activities and play and that they have a positive attitude toward their own physical health and attitude to healthcare. So we give them access to food banks and food vouchers and teach them about cooking and help them get access to exercise.

2) Mental Health & Wellbeing - we provide access to & provision of good quality services that promote and support children’s mental health and help them understand their own mental health and emotional well-being which helps them build confidence, emotional self-control and their resilience. So,  we give them access  to Therapeutic and non-therapeutic interventions, in groups and 1:1, Mentoring & peer support. We Support parenting & attachment particularly in the first 1,000 days and provide opportunities for play and socialisation

3) Safety - We are tackling squalid living conditions and preventing children from feeling lonely and vulnerable. We want to make sure that Children have a secure and suitable home with access to living and play spaces in a fit conditio and to ensure that they have access to community facilities and services for children & young people. So we help to make home environment improvements and do activities that prevent anti-social behaviour. We also make Interventions and activities that support the development of positive family and peer relationships to promote individual wellbeing and community cohesion.

4) Confidence - We are helping to reduce the impact of educational inequalities by supporting life and work-readiness, reducing barriers to employment, education or training and helping the children to feel inspired and hopeful about their future. So we provide academic mentoring & support and careers education and extracurricular activities. We alos provide services that indetify and support vulnerable children and then we can provide work-readiness support & training.

All this work does not come cheaply and we rely on donations. We raised £3.09m year ending 30th June 2022 which sounds like a lot but when you spread that across 900 charitable projects working with disadvantaged children and young people across all of London’s 32 boroughs and the City we urgenty need more funding"


We say that if you are based in or visiting London and are in a fortunate financial position, you should look around you and maybe consider that the child you are passing in the street may be going back to a run-down home with an empty fridge, and consider donating to this wonderful charity.


To see more about: The Childhood Trust

(Header Image: Courtesy of Saxton Bampfylde) 


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