Today’s guest blog on Bristol’s Children’s Charter comes from my Cabinet Lead for Women, Children and Families, Helen Godwin.
Today is a very special day for Bristol’s children, as we celebrate the 16th Annual Playday on College Green. Playday is our annual celebration of play – every child in the city is welcome to come along and join us for a free day of fun, activities and celebration. This year is even more special as we are launching our Bristol Children’s Charter: a city-wide vision of how we can make Bristol the best possible place for all our children.
We are ambitious and determined that Bristol should be a brilliant place to grow up for all children, and we believe this can happen if key organisations come together to make a pledge to put children at the heart of how we govern, develop and enjoy the city.
Marvin and I first discussed the concept of a charter over a year ago. The charter itself is aligned with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and adopts many of the same principles. However, we also wanted to give the Charter a uniquely Bristol feel, and have included some of our own pledges that reflect the challenges and opportunities here in our city. We wanted to be bold for Bristol’s children and are unafraid to be aspirational. We are acutely aware that there are too many children here growing up in poverty and in unsuitable housing. We want to declare that as a city we will work to change this, and that we will focus on the health and education of our children, while also enabling them to shape the city and access the best of Bristol’s culture and sport. We want to give children safe places to be and play while learning about the world around them and their wider, global community. Importantly, we are pledging to support parents and carers too. Our ten pledges set the rights and best interests of children as a priority for decision makers in Bristol.
Over the past year I have had the joy of working and engaging with many groups that work with young people and most importantly, with lots of Bristol’s children and young people as we have worked together to create the Children’s Charter. I have been struck by the passion and interest in the project and we are thrilled to have so many organisations that want to join us in making this commitment.
I am delighted to have so many brilliant Bristol organisations with us on launch day to sign our charter; organisations as diverse as City of Bristol College, Gloucestershire County Cricket, Fareshare South West, the University of Bristol, Barnardos and of course Bristol City Council are some of the initial signatories to the charter.
Today will be the first step in bringing together the best of Bristol to deliver for the most important people in the city – our children and young people. I look forward to working together to bring our Children’s Charter to life.