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Cardiff is UK's first UNICEF Child Friendly City

Cardiff has today (Friday 27 October) been named a UNICEF Child Friendly City - the first in the UK.

The prestigious status has been awarded to Cardiff in recognition of the steps the council and its partners have taken over the past five years to advance the human rights of children and young people across the city.

Cardiff Council and its partners joined the UK Committee for UNICEF's (UNICEF UK) Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme in 2017 as part of a pioneering cohort. Since then, it has been implementing strategies to embed children's rights - as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - into its policies and services.

Working with the city's children and young people, Cardiff has prioritised six key areas: cooperation and leadership; communication; culture; healthy; family and belonging; and education and learning.

Cardiff Council Leader, Huw Thomas said: "Since the launch of Cardiff's Child Friendly Strategy <in 2018>in 2018>, the city has embarked on a journey of transformation with the aim that all children, including the most vulnerable, feel safe, heard, nurtured and able to thrive, to become a place where their rights are respected by all."

Some highlights achieved to date include;

  1. 40,000 children and young people have taken part in wellbeing programmes including Summer of Fun and Winter of Wellbeing events.

  2. 42,254 children and young people have accessed early help and support through the new Family Support Gateway since April 2019.

  3. 66,324 children aged 5-14 have accessed local authority play provision since April 2020.

  4. 73% of Cardiff schools are working to embed children's rights as part of the UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools Award.

  5. 3,995 children and young people have received participation and rights training.

  6. Almost 14,000 active citizenship hours have been delivered by young people through groups including the Children and Young People Citizen Panel, Cardiff Influencers and the Children's Youth Council.

  7. 4,807 council staff have received rights training.

  8. There have been over 700 opportunities available to children and young people to meaningfully participate in Cardiff Council decision-making.

  9. 50 teams of children were engaged with to design new areas of the city through Minecraft Education.

  10. 2,785 children have taken part in design, monitoring and evaluation of council services.

  11. 12,000 young people provided views via the Child Friendly City Survey.

  12. More than 155,00 thousand packs of products have been delivered to schools to support Cardiff's commitment to promote period dignity since March 2019.

  13. 19 streets helping to reduce traffic at 22 schools have been made safer through the School Streets Scheme.

  14. Nine city-wide outdoor Story Trails have been developed for families to enjoy.

  15. More than 2,861 children have accessed over 90 free extra-curricular activities through The Passport to the City initiative helping them develop a sense of pride in their community and city. 

  16. 43 partners have delivered hundreds of initiatives for young people in areas such as science and technology, arts and culture and health and wellbeing to enrich their learning experiences within and beyond the classroom.

Huw Thomas added: "Cardiff should feel very proud and excited as we look forward to a child friendly future where we continue our ambition of making Cardiff a city where children and young people are at its heart and where the voices, needs and rights of every child and young person are respected."

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of UNICEF UK, said: "Becoming the first UNICEF Child Friendly City in the UK is testament to the significant commitment and hard work that has taken place by Cardiff council and its partners over the past five years. It also marks a promise to the city's children and young people - that the council will continue to make sure children's voices are at the heart of local decisions, and to making sure all children and young people - especially those who are most vulnerable and marginalised - have their rights upheld, now and in the future."

To mark Cardiff's Child Friendly recognition, a celebratory event will take place today, Friday, at Cardiff City Stadium from 10am to 2pm.

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