Together for Childhood
Child abuse is preventable if we all work together.
We work with communities to fight for every childhood.
Together for Childhood is our long-term project working with local communities to make them safer for children. We help local partners and families come together to prevent abuse and tackle the problems that cause it, head-on.
Watch our video to see how this approach brings people and services together.
How does Together for Childhood work?
Every community is different. That’s why each Together for Childhood site is run by a local team. They work to strengthen and build relationships between partner organisations such as local authorities, charities and schools.
Working with the community, the partners in each Together for Childhood area look at what’s working well, how organisations are working together and what can be done to build on that.
Then, together, we test new ways to prevent abuse that are tailor-made for the community’s needs. This can be through public awareness campaigns, events in schools, engaging with communities, and direct services for children, young people and families.
Together for Childhood locations focus on either:
Where is Together for Childhood available?
Why do we need to come together for childhood?
We must have an unrelenting focus on identifying what works in preventing abuse and neglect from happening.
Imagine a community that uses the best of what social care, schools, community groups, police and the NSPCC are already doing to prevent abuse. By working together and combining these skills, we can find earlier and better ways to support children and families.
Do you work with children and families?
Visit NSPCC Learning for information for professionals on our Together for Childhood programme.
What difference have we made?
Together for Childhood sites are places of continuous learning. To understand the difference we're making, we carry out research and evaluation activities with children, families, professionals and our partners to get their views – improving our services to meet their needs.
Early evidence indicates that working directly with local community members and organisations is helping us reach more children and families who need our help. We make a difference by:
- building relationships with community members and local organisations in each Together for Childhood area so we can understand and respond to their needs
- working closely with community members to empower parents and carers to ask our staff questions, talk about wider issues and learn about abuse prevention
- developing new projects as part of Together for Childhood to help young people recognise abuse and talk about their experiences.
In 2019, we published our Learning Together report sharing what we learnt about local contexts and working with key partners to protect more children and young people.
Each Together for Childhood site has their own vision and priorities. Below are just a few examples of some of the work that has been happening at our sites:
Our Together for Childhood team in Glasgow have been delivering our Circle of Security parenting programme to the local community – helping parents and children build strong, lasting relationships.
This innovative intervention program, based on attachment theory, is designed to improve the developmental pathway of children and their parents. We deliver sessions over 8 weeks, working with groups as well as 1-2-1 with parents. Due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions we now deliver this important service online to support families who need our help. Between 1st April 2019 and 30th June 2021, we dealt with 60 cases for Circle of Security in Glasgow.
Responding to the needs of the community during COVID-19, the team also built a toy library to give parents and families access to free toys and games to play with at home. This initiative supported 1,407 children, helping their families cope with restrictions.
In 2020-21, our Together for Childhood partnership in Grimsby reached over 2,000 children, adults and professionals, supporting the community through the COVID-19 pandemic. We delivered free school meals to families unable to collect them and offered support to families who otherwise may have struggled in silence.
We're also helping children understand, share and cope with their feelings with our Together for Childhood schools programme available to all children in years 3-6. Launched in September 2020, Together and Stronger teaches emotional intelligence, resilience and regulation. We work with children to share wellbeing and self-care resources, learning techniques and tips to cope with feelings, and who to go to for support if they need it.
Our work in schools has enabled us to work more closely with local partners, to come together to respond earlier to needs identified by the school community.
All 6 primary schools and the pupil referral unit in the East Marsh area of Grimsby are working with Together for Childhood. A review 3 months after attending the workshops shows encouraging recall of the lessons we covered, and positive feedback from school staff.
Our Together for Childhood team in Stoke-on-Trent used surveys and focus groups to plan an online safety campaign tailored to the local area, in time for Safer Internet Day (9 February 2021):
- providing schools and local community groups with resource packs with online safety lesson plans and activity ideas
- promoting online safety messages and resources (like Net Aware) through our partners and social media
- delivering an online safety webinar to parents and professionals working with children
- delivering In Ctrl adapted programme to children and young people
- creating and delivering online safety activities in a secondary school, in the Together for Childhood area, as part of NSPCC National Childhood Day. 79 children (ranging from ages 11-15) participated in these activities and fun activities delivered by local partners.
Now our team is working with Synectics Solutions (a local business) and Burnwood Primary School (a school in the Together for Childhood area) to create an online game with local children to help younger children learn about online safety. We asked the opinions of 85 children in one of our Together for Childhood primary schools about what the content and style of this game should be and will work with a smaller group of children to develop and implement the game.
We’ve also created a working group with members from Stoke-on-Trent City Learning Inclusion Team, Watermill School (a school in the Together for Childhood area) and the Family Support Team focusing on protecting children with SEND from child sexual abuse. One of the objectives of this group is the development and delivery of specific training for SEND professionals in the Together for Childhood area.
Our Together for Childhood team in Plymouth work with children, young people and the community to design and deliver activities that help prevent child sexual abuse.
For one of our projects, Young Voices, we worked with 24 students, developing their leadership skills at a local secondary school to develop a campaign about healthy relationships, helping young people recognise harmful sexual behaviour from their peers. They worked with a music company to write lyrics to a rap that’s now used by the school as part of their curriculum and during COVID reached a whole school year group.
We evaluated Young Voices internally and found that:
- young people felt included and listened to, and that the project gave them a voice
- the participation groups helped young people think about and discuss their relationships in a safe, informal space
- after taking part, young people and staff felt better able to recognise concerning situations, and more confident acting if something happened.
We plan to work with more schools in the future to develop campaigns young people can engage with and relate to.
What we’ve learnt through Together for Childhood
Building relationships with the local community helped our staff understand and respond to their needs.
"One parent had shared with us how they had played the same board game for several weeks now and they had become increasingly bored. After some discussion and meetings with appropriate partners - the Toy Library was born."
NSPCC staff member
Working closely with community meant parents and carers could ask our staff questions, and learn about how to help keep their children safe.
"I cannot thank [staff member] enough for everything she has done for me and my family. Even with COVID-19 going on, [staff member] was still able to provide amazing support over the phone and I really wouldn’t have been able to get through any of it without her"
Parent in Glasgow
Working together during COVID-19 offered unique opportunities to support and change behaviours in families we might not otherwise have reached.
"As a practitioner, it's been thrilling to see and feel that I am helping families make changes. It's been really heartening to see that I can make a difference in a relatively short period of time through listening and a few ideas being implemented"
Practitioner working with us in Glasgow
New projects developed as part of Together for Childhood have helped young people to recognise abuse and feel able talk about personal experiences.
"It made it okay to sort of admit that something’s gone on and get the help that they need for it and to recognise that actually that isn't what most people are doing...it was nice for them to have a forum where they could talk honestly and get the truth."
Young person involved in the Young Voices Project in Plymouth
Being able to be directly involved in campaigns alongside NSPCC staff helped professionals share important messages about abuse and safety.
"It gave us the confidence and the opportunity to take [child sexual abuse prevention] further with the families we work with: delivering PANTS activities, promoting it through our Facebook page and making Pantosaurus part of the community lantern parade"
Together for Childhood has built relationships with professionals – they are comfortable getting advice and support from our staff, and access our resources.
"If we have an issue that we are unsure about in school, I can send an email or pick up the phone and ask for advice or direction… We don’t have anyone else who has expertise in that area so it has been really helpful."
Children are online now more than ever. Our InCtrl service, delivered by our Together for Childhood teams, helps parents and families understand the risks and keep children safe online.
"I was worried about the way [my child] was behaving online, and the risks she was being exposed to. InCtrl has helped her to think about things such as privacy and who she talks to online. I feel she has opened up to me a bit more it has had a good impact on our relationship."
Parent in Stoke
Together we can keep children safe online. Our Together for Childhood teams work with teachers and families to help them feel confident support children and young people online.
"Due to the pandemic children are spending longer on the internet accessing games and activities. As a parent myself, we need to be aware of the concerns around online safety as it’s fast moving. Our parents and staff members will be accessing the online safety webinars during this campaign."
Teacher in Stoke
We work with practitioners and professionals, helping foster effective, supportive relationships with the communities and families they work with.
"Together for Childhood has enabled me to support and equip the families I work with in tackling sensitive issues with their children and grandchildren. The most significant change for me is being given the tools to raise difficult issues with preteen children. The feedback I have received from families has all been very positive."
Practitioner in Stoke
Our Together for Childhood services help parents and families feel confident supporting their children, and communicating with them about anything that might worry them.
"Together for Childhood gave me insight into problems and helped me to be a better father to my children. It helped me to understand our problems. Adapting to certain things, getting help and knowing where to go for it."
Dad supported by our Together for Childhood team in Grimsby
Our services and staff were able to support children and young people throughout the coronavirus pandemic - helping them cope with feeling lonely and worried.
"I found the group work [Young Smiles] was a big help. It has been hard seeing less people and not going to school because of Covid. I had somewhere to come and make friends. Coming to the centre to see my worker makes me happy."
Child supported by our Together for Childhood team in Grimsby
Together for Childhood offers services and support to parents and families, helping them understand and support the children in their care.
"The NSPCC created a safe space for me and [my child] and a place where we can talk openly without judgement. You have accommodated our specific needs and tailored the work to what my family needed at that time."
Parent supported by our Together for Childhood team in Grimsby
What's next for Together for Childhood?
The progress we make to prevent abuse today will keep children safer for generations to come. We will continue to listen and work with local communities to understand their needs, reaching families that need our support.
Each place we work is different – so we tailor our approach to their specific needs so we can provide the best possible support to children and young people in their communities.
More about our services
Find local service centres
Find out what services for children and families are available in your area and contact details for our service centres.
How you can help us in our work
Right now, many children are struggling to cope. Thousands are calling Childline with thoughts of self-harm and suicide, and many have nowhere else to turn. Please donate today to help us be here for children this winter.