Giving children back their childhoods

As I looked though the Sunday Times Giving List at the millions pledged and given to good causes the other week I was reminded of a letter I read many years ago. Written on a small piece of light blue paper, in a looping hand, the letter from ‘Mrs Anonymous’ had enclosed with it a cheque – for the grand total of 75p.

Alison Todd

A seemingly paltry amount. But every penny counted, for the old lady who donated it to us and to the children who we helped because of it.

“I’m sorry it’s not much at all,” she wrote, “but it is all I can afford this month.”

That lady sent us cheques whenever she could. She sent us what little she had because she believed that it would help.

I find this is the prevailing attitude whenever I speak to people about fundraising. And, in this climate of cuts, I’m finding I’m talking a lot about the need for funds and about how people can help organisations like ours maintain the vital services they provide.

At a recent business event a prominent entrepreneur discussed the economic downturn in the North East. His suggestion that companies should be upping their efforts on fundraising and corporate social responsibility at times like these somewhat surprised me. His take was that whilst shareholders may be losing profits and staff losing jobs, they would still understand why now – when times are tougher – it’s more important than ever to do something for those who need it most.

I have thought about what he said and he is right, now is absolutely the time to be making sure we reach out and support those who need it. Now is the time that charities need your help more than ever.

At Children 1st we helped more than 17,000 children, young people and families last year. But we need your help to enable us to be there for children throughout 2016.

We rely on donations from people like you to support Scotland’s most vulnerable children. When the worst happens we are there on the front line to support survivors of abuse neglect and other traumatic events in childhood to recover. Our main drive, however, is always prevention, working to strengthen communities, families and organisations to ensure children grow up safe, happy and secure, giving them the best childhood possible.

I thank all of you who have supported Children 1st. You can be sure you have had a direct impact on a child’s life.

For those of you who haven’t, can you think of anything better than supporting a child to recover from abuse and trauma, giving them the opportunity to grow up and fulfil their potential?

This is the view shared by people like ex-pat, John McGurk, the main speaker at our Heather Ball in Glasgow this month. John will be running an epic 560 miles between Germany and Glasgow in June to raise money for Children 1st. A victim of abuse as a child John wanted to show everyone, including children living in poverty or abuse, that they are worth running for, and that life can get better.

Alison Todd and John McGurk

In this job I can be reminded every day about how cruel people can be to children and young people. But the flip side is meeting people like John and hearing through letters, emails or social media posts just how much people care about protecting children and want to join us to help give children back their childhoods.

To donate visit: