Local campaigner wins national volunteering award

Janet Rogers, a passionate local volunteer for the Children’s Society, has been presented with their national volunteering award. In this story, Charlotte Tyler, 15, who joined our communications department for a week of work experience, tells the story of Janet’s tireless campaign. 

The Children’s Society is a charity devoted to supporting young people through the challenges of life. Janet took a particular interest in their “Fairer Start for Care Leavers” campaign. The campaign supports young people who have left home and are struggling with financial management and paying council tax.

Rachel Brockie, Relationship Manager at the Children’s Society, presents Janet with her award. Photo: Jo Duckles

Most councils have little or no plans in place to help care leavers struggling with budgeting for the first time. Janet started by signing petitions and getting in touch with the councillor who chairs the Children’s Services committee at Wokingham Borough Council. She then spoke at a council meeting.

“I was surprised and frustrated by the objections of the councillors. I felt like they didn’t understand what the proposal was about,” says Janet. After the proposal was rejected Janet was inspired to take matters into her own hands. She searched persistently for data and documentation to take back to the council. Janet again met with the chair of children’s services and raised awareness by asking a public question at the Council’s Executive Meeting. Eventually,  Wokingham Borough Council implemented the council tax exemption for care leavers until they reach the age of 21.

There are many ways every churchgoer can get involved in making a difference in the lives of young people. The first step is to educate yourself, the Children’s Society website provides information for and about every age group, including the Good Childhood report, a shocking yet necessary eye-opener to the lives of young people.

The website is incredibly easy to navigate (for those of us who are less tech-savvy). The quickest ways to take action is to sign a petition (found on The Children’s Society’s website) and to pray regularly. The Children’s Society even provides an email service where you will be emailed prayer requests. Another approach is volunteering and educating others, these steps are vital to the work of The Children’s Society and getting wider coverage for their projects.