Working in partnership to achieve priorities for children and young people

Place-based partnership with cultural and child-focused organisations is key to achieving Southampton City Council’s priorities for children, Councillor Darren Paffey told SCEP (Southampton Cultural Education Partnership) members at a recent meeting.

Cllr Darren Paffey and Child Friendly Southampton logo

With partnership working at our heart, the SCEP was delighted to welcome Southampton’s Cabinet Member for Children and Learning and ward councillor for Bargate as a guest speaker at our last Members meeting:

There’s a lot of belief out there that councils are the sole organisation that can solve all problems in cities. It won’t be a surprise to know that’s not true. Everything that we do depends on the partnerships that we have built up with cultural organisations, with businesses, with our schools, with our early years settings and with the universities,’ said Cllr Darren Paffey.

Cllr Paffey went on to outline the Council’s four key priorities for children and young people:

  1. A good start in life. Cllr Paffey explained research showed that the first thousand days of a child’s were crucial to their overall development. ‘So we try to do everything we can to ensure that children are getting a good, healthy, safe start in life,’ he said.
  2. Living safely. As well as making sure children can grow up safe from neglect and abuse, with Social Services stepping in when things go wrong, the Council also wants to make sure neighbourhoods are developed to be safe for children, with green, healthy play spaces available.
  3. Health and happiness. As well as making sure children have access to good recreational facilities such play areas and sports facilities, the Council is aware that that young people’s mental health is becoming an increasingly important issue. ‘Whenever we talk to to young people to get their view on what we’re doing and what we should be doing, they’re always telling us that mental health is is one of their priorities and and getting support for that is absolutely crucial. So that for us is a a key priority too,’ explained Cllr Paffey.
  4. The ability to learn and achieve. The Council aims to make sure the right organisations and opportunities are in place to ensure that children in the city can grow up and have successful opportunities in adulthood as well.

All of these areas will have projects and schemes where the day-to-day work of all our partner organisations, including yourselves, make the difference and allow us to take those daily, sometimes small, sometimes bigger steps towards ensuring that children do get a good start, that they can live safely and healthily, and happily,’ commented Cllr Paffey.

He added that the Council aimed to make Southampton a UNICEF accredited Child Friendly City with in the next few years. This would mean that children know their rights, which are upheld during any decision-making processes, and where children will have a say in these decisions. A recent survey for Child Friendly Southampton of local children had shown their priorities were family and belonging (working to help families stay together and have fun around the city) and feeling safe and secure (being able to trust teachers, police officers and other adults, and sharing ideas about improving safety in the city).  They also want the Council to work towards a health accreditation, working on physical, mental and emotional health.

Cllr Paffey said the survey showed the children’s priorities linked with the Council’s four key priorities and now it was down to the Council, and it’s partner organisations, to deliver: ‘We know we’re not trying to do one thing and the young people are telling us they want us to do something completely different. However, what this does mean is that they’ve told us these are the priorities so we will have to be held to account on those and that’s what we want to be working with partners to achieve.’

SCEP is proud to be a Child Friendly Southampton Ambassador. Find out more about this UNICEF scheme and what it means for the City.

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