Teenagers Need Access to People Who Give a Damn

Teengirl was appalled when I told her I was going to No 10 Downing Street last night.

“How can you go there?” she asked “When his politics are ruining our country?”

“Because it’s not about politics,”  I told her.  “It’s about charity and children.”

every five minutes a child in the UK runs away from home

A shocking, stark and scary statistic.

The song ‘Jump’ by Girls Aloud played on a loop in my head as I walked up the stairs in Number 10 that Hugh Grant danced down in Love Actually and it wasn’t until I’d walked up a flight and a half that Winston Churchill slapped me in the face (metaphorically speaking of course).

The walls of the ‘Hugh Grant’ staircase as it will always be known to me from now on are almost papered in portraits of prime ministers past from Churchill to Brown and from Lloyd George to Baldwin and my mind wouldn’t shake the image of that most famous of PM’s Hugh Grant.

At the top of the stairs I turned left and then through a doorway.  But before I walked through the door into the actual reception I looked up and was astounded to see a pink neon sign.  Unfortunately I couldn’t read the neon writing from the angle I saw it at.

But that pink neon sign in Downing Street tickled me even more than the NYPD blue and pink neon sign in Times Square when I saw it 20 years ago.  I so wished I had my camera to take that one photograph that would’ve summed up my Downing Street visit perfectly.  I snapped it in my mind and it’ll live there forever alongside Times Square NYPD.  But if you do know what the sign says could you please let me know – it would make the photograph in my mind complete.

Did you Know – children run away from problems at home into other worse problems like drugs and sexual exploitation

As I chatted in the reception with other Mumsnetters and bloggers, Ann off of Mumsnet HQ summoned me over:  “When everyone else starts moving into the next room could you just wait here.”

I’m sure my face fell as the thought that I might be getting left out hit the light behind my eyes but of course I agreed.

And as almost everyone else headed through to the other room that housed the biggest chandelier I’ve seen outside of Only Fools and Horses I stayed forlornly put.

But my frown soon turned upside down (oh come on…I’ve got a toddler) when it began to become obvious that I’d been selected to meet Samantha Cameron!!!!

Did you Know – Aviva with Mumsnet has raised £72,000 so far for the Railway Children

And meet her I did.  I shook her hand and I chatted with her very briefly about this very blog.

Can I just tell you right now that she is absolutely lovely.  And as she spoke to every person in the room (including me) she seemed genuine and really interested in what we had to say.  She also seemed genuinely appalled at the statistics and seriously interested in raising awareness of the plight of children who become homeless and how the Railway Children (and their partners) are helping vulnerable children by addressing the problems that could lead to them running away from home.

Did you Know – The Railway Children provide access for children vulnerable to homelessness to people who give a damn

FYI – The Railway Children is a non-profit organisation that fights for children living on the streets.  They provide protection and opportunity for children with nowhere else to go and nobody to turn to.  They are helping make the invisible, visible.

Look out for my next blog which will show how one of the Railway Children’s partners StreetWork, Edinburgh reach out to children who are on the street but not homeless yet.  And I might also expose more of Downing Street shallowness! 

Behind this door I met Samantha Cameron at the event she hosted to raise awareness of the Railway Children's work to help homeless children and teenagers.

Behind this door (10 Downing Street) I met Samantha Cameron at the event she hosted to raise awareness of the Railway Children’s work to help homeless children and teenagers.

About mumtoteens

mum to two teens and a toddler - not a easy mix tbh. The oldest is 18, the middlest is 13 and the baby is 2 and we live a life full of love and chaos. View all posts by mumtoteens

14 responses to “Teenagers Need Access to People Who Give a Damn

  • Karen Quinn

    I talked about the shallow end of this problem recently. I’m sorry to say I hadn’t heard of this Charity before – well done for raising awareness on so many levels and – Downing Street!? Wow!!!

  • landlsmum

    Lovely to read your account of what was a truly superb evening. So important to raise awareness and a privilege to be a part of it.

    • mumtoteens

      You’re so right, it is important to raise awareness. And as a parent of children of any age it’s an important cause to be aware of and for us to tell other parents about. I only thought it was teenagers that run away from home, I was appalled last night when I heard that it’s not uncommon for children of 10 to become homeless. Unbelievable!!

  • Kate @craftsonsea

    What I love about Railway Children is that they invest not just in children who have run away but in trying to stop children from doing it in the first place. Fab charity, hope your posts raise lots of money for them :)

    • mumtoteens

      I know, that’s just about the most amazing thing I think The Railway Children and their partners do. I was so impressed by the women at Street Work Edinburgh who actually go out on the streets at night in search of kids who aren’t homeless but who spend much of their time not at home and spend months sometimes trying to get these kids to trust them so they can help them. But enough about that, cos that’s going to be my next blog and if I don’t stop now I won’t have a blog left to write!

  • grettaschifano

    Great post, sorry I didn’t meet you on the evening. I hope we help to raise lots more money for this brilliant charity.

    • mumtoteens

      Thanks gretta. It would’ve been nice to meet all of the mumsnet bloggers who were there. Let’s keep blogging and tweeting and commenting to raise as much as we can for The Railway Children.

  • homemadekids

    Well what would you have liked the pink neon sign to say? i guess something about how to keep runaway children safe? Nicola

    • mumtoteens

      I was quite impressed with what it said homemadekids, once I found out that is.
      I like the idea that a sign saying “more passion” was above the door of a room full of people passionate about the Railway Children charity as well as their many and varying other beliefs.

  • Alreethinny

    Great post. Thankfully the charities that we spoke to on Tuesday do give a damn about these children. The numbers and ages of children feeling the need to run away is shocking. Hopefully lots of money will be raised and this issue discussed, so that these children get help to stay safe.

    • mumtoteens

      Thanks Alree! I loved the line when Andy used it in his speech “children need access to people who give a damn”. I thought it spoke volumes about the problems vulnerable children face. Before Tuesday night I wouldn’t know where to go to get help if I became homeless so how on earth would a child know how to access that help. The Railway Children and their partners do an amazing job.
      Let’s keep blogging, commenting and tweeting and like you said talking about this with our kids and our friends and well, anybody that’ll listen.
      Great to meet you on Tuesday. I soooo loved your dress and boots.

  • indreamworld

    Sounds like an amazing experience, and first I’ve heard of this cause, keep up the good work! :-)

    • mumtoteens

      It was an amazing experience and one I’ll probably never get to do again.
      I hadn’t heard of the Railway Children until before Christmas when I read about them and found out if I blogged about them Aviva would give them money.
      I’d no idea that one little blog would take me to Downing Street!

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Lou Treleaven, writer

Writing for children, submitting manuscripts, reviewing great books and other wordcentric activities

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