Why we’re asking Scotland to #createasmile

On September 5, International Day of Charity, we launched our #createasmile campaign: asking Scotland’s people to show children that they deserve a life free from abuse and neglect. So far, over 2,000 of you have done just that and we thank you for showing Scotland’s children you care in this way.

We hope that with your help we can create 5,123 smiles – as that is the number of children we know experienced acts of sexual abuse and cruelty in Scotland last year.

2136 smiles created for Children 1st's #createasmile campaign

I thought I’d tell you why I think this campaign is so important and why I want your support to raise awareness of the work we do in Scotland.

We know that thousands of children in Scotland experience abuse and neglect. The reasons are wide and varied and can include: witnessing domestic abuse, experiencing loss and bereavement, living in poverty or directly being physically, sexually or emotionally abused. For many of us this is hard to imagine, but at Children 1st our staff see first-hand the impact on children and their families of childhood trauma caused by such events.

For children this can manifest itself in them showing signs of distress as they try to manage their emotions and they find it difficult to express how they feel. For parents, the long-term impacts of poor childhood attachment relationships and unresolved childhood trauma can lead to anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance misuse and further isolation as they continue to struggle with their feelings.

Children 1st has been working for over 130 years in Scotland to make sure that we do all we can to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect from happening. We do this by influencing people like you and government to stand up for children’s rights and protection. And when the worst happens, we know that with our help and support, children can recover and go on to have happy healthy lives.

Our staff work with children and their families to create a safe and secure environment so that they can express and understand their feelings. Many children find it hard to say what is wrong, but through a variety of play, drama and art work, we do our best to let them talk through their fears and their anger, and in doing so, give them back their childhood.

For the families we work with, relationships built on trust and respect are essential in giving them support. Our staff make sure that they carefully listen to families, understand their lives and what they see as important. This careful individualised work enables families to recognise and build on the strengths and assets that lie within them – so they can be the best they can be and respond to their children’s distress with understanding and love.

We believe that the best way to protect children is when parents, families and communities work together to provide a safe nurturing environment for children. That’s why I am asking you to #createasmile for Scotland’s children and support our work to strengthen Scotland’s children and families.


To sign up and show your support visit: createasmile.org.uk (and make sure to SHARE the smile you create!)