Tag Archives: vulnerable to homelessness children


When I was 8 years old I told my teacher I wanted to be a writer, not just any writer but the new Enid Blyton. Aged 12 I told my teachers I wanted to be a journalist. Having not changed my mind in the intervening years at 16 years old I told my careers teacher I still wanted to be a journalist.

He said: “Don’t be daft you’ll never do that, it’s not what you know it’s who you know. Journalism’s not for the likes of us.”

Just a few months later I left school at 16 and became a secretary. I spent a few years temping and travelling before I got pregnant with teenboy.

Aged 22 and pregnant I found a new journalism course starting in a couple of months. I applied, wrote an essay, sat the tests, aced the interviews and was accepted.

I then had to come clean and tell them I was 5 months pregnant and couldn’t start the course in a month. One of the lecturers said: “I wondered if you might be pregnant cos when we were interviewing you your stomach kept moving. But you can’t ask, can you?”

I started chasing my childhood dream the following year.

Once qualified I broke stories that changed people’s lives, changed laws, exposed scandals, lies and frauds as well as told the stories of the good people so often do. I loved every second of it, going back to work when Teengirl was just a few weeks old.

It all ended, however, when Teengirl suffered a brain haemorrhage at 9 months old and wasn’t expected to survive and I ran out words.

But I never ran out dreams…


As a little boy teenboy wanted to be a pilot, a train driver, a lorry driver. He was obsessed with all forms of transport. Unfortunately he still is as any of you who’ve read this blog know!

Now at 22 his dream is and has been for a few years to be a film maker and editor. Film-editing being his preferred profession.

Thankfully because we live in the UK teenboy got into Uni three years ago and graduated in summer 2015 with a 2:1 degree in Film and TV Production. Currently he’s got three jobs: working in a bar, teaching filmmaking and occasionally filming and editing for a start-up YouTube channel.

But he’s not finished there; he still has plans, big plans. And I think, given a few years, he’ll fulfil them.


When my princess tomboy was a little girl she wanted to be a vet during the week and an artist at the weekend.

At 17 those dreams have evolved slightly. Right now she’s studying for a BTEC in computer game design and already has a GCSE in this.

She’s not sure if she wants to study this at Uni, she quite fancies trying her hand at photo journalism or perhaps fine art or maybe political journalism or creative writing. But then again she might not even go to Uni and train as a tattoo artist or a scuba diving instructor. Who knows! She has so many opportunities at her feet it’s hard to decide. But she’s just 17 she shouldn’t know what she wants to do for sure yet. She’s still got plenty of time for dreaming.


Right now he wants to be an alien! And a lot of the time he wants to be a Lego builder or designer. Big impossible dreams you may say. I say the bigger more imaginative the dream the better. And while he’s reaching for the moon he might just hit a star.

What’s amazing for my children is that the world is their oyster and they know it. They can do whatever they want as long as they can dream.


#ifIgrowup - donate and give a child a chance to dream


International children’s charity the Railway Children help vulnerable children who live alone and are at risk on the streets at home in the UK and abroad. It urgently needs to expand its work in East Africa where thousands of street-connected children are at risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and prostitution.

For 7-year-old Joseph who lives alone on the streets of Nairobi in Kenya every day is a matter of life and death. He doesn’t know what he’ll when he grows up. He doesn’t know if he’ll grow up. He has no need for dreams.

The Railway Children are fighting to save children like Joseph to give them a future. Once these children are safe and well-cared for and back in school, they do have dreams and ambitions, just like any other child.

You can help these children by donating to the #ifIgrowup appeal at www.ifigrowup.org.uk where until 22 January 2016, all donations to Railway Children’s If I grow Up campaign will be doubled by the UK government, helping them reach twice as many children. Proceeds from the appeal will fund Railway Children’s vital work in the UK and abroad; match-funding from the UK government will fund work in East Africa.


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.

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