Membership Spotlight – Save the Children

Each fortnight, we ‘spotlight’ one of our member organisations and share the work that they are doing with children and young people in Scotland. This week, we spoke to the Save the Children (Scotland).

Fun fact: Save the Children was one of the founding partners of the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights, now know as ‘Together’!

Tell us about Save the Children’s work in Scotland?

Every child has the rights to ensure their needs are met and that they receive the love, encouragement, opportunities and help they need to reach their full potential and have a good childhood. Poverty denies children these rights.

All our work aims to reduce the number of children experiencing poverty, particularly on reducing its impact on children in the early years and their families.  We campaign at a national level and also work across Scotland – with different projects in around half of all local authorities.

Our aim is to catalyse national policy and practice change that supports these goals. We listen to families and communities, partner with allies and decision-makers, test, evidence and share what works for children and families to advocate for change in policy and practise.

Save the Children Scotland doesn’t directly deliver services but works with partners to deliver projects and initiatives that address gaps or aim to improve the way things are done. We share this learning with others and ensure that these approaches are embedded in order to facilitate long-term on the ground change.

What are you currently working on?

We’re currently working to realise three outcomes for children in Scotland. These are:

1.       Ensuring that action to reduce poverty is inclusive.

2.      Strengthening social security and practical support for children and families.

3.       Supporting children and parents to play and learn together in the early years.

Some of our current projects include:

  • Working with partners to deliver Emergency Early Years grants across 8 local authorities
  • Research and working with families to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and what that means for the help they need. An example of this is our recently published ‘Dropped into a Cave’ report which explains the experiences of low-income families throughout the pandemic and makes a series of recommendations to Scottish Government and partners to embed positive changes.
  • Investigating best practices for working with nurseries and schools to support parents to play and learn with their children through our Families Connect project as well as testing the ‘whole school approach’
  • Campaigning to ensure all families have the money they need to meet their basic needs
  • Working with parents and children to support changes in local communities, for example through Children’s Places. Children’s Places is an area-based, community initiative that tackles disadvantage at a neighbourhood level to improve local children’s lives.

How do you support children and families to learn about their rights?

Children’s rights are embedded in our work and the approaches we use. One example of this is through our Children’s Places which – an approach that was developed by Save the Children through our engagement with communities in Scotland.

The Children’s Places empower children and families to create positive change in their community through play-based engagement sessions that capture the experiences and views of children. The programmes support them to understand wellbeing in their community and generate and implement ideas to improve it. The principles and theory supporting Children’s Places links to important policy and practice and the programme upholds the rights of the child outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Learning about rights is enhanced by experiencing them in practise. Creating rights-respecting environments, such as our Children’s Places, enables people to developing an understanding about their rights by seeing them reflected in their daily experiences.

How can children and young people make their views heard to influence your work?

Through attending and raising their views at our Children’s Places. We encourage all children and young people to get in touch with their ideas! Save the Children is currently updating our participation strategy as we are always looking to evolve and improve our approaches and practices.

How does Save the Children influence policy on issues affecting children and young people?

We use evidence from our project work to influence national policy and practice developments. We want to put children and families at the heart of decision making and address the structural issues that drive people into poverty. 

A recent example is our ‘Dropped into a Cave’ report which is based on the experiences of 18 low-income families in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re now engaging with politicians on the issues raised by this research and what Scottish Government needs to do now. 

Everything we do links back to trying realise children’s rights and reduce the number of children in Scotland experiencing poverty – telling real stories to decision makers is a vital part of that.

What do you enjoy most about being a member of Together?

Being part of a community of like-minded organisations working to deliver and realise children’s rights!

How can other organisations or individuals get involved or support your work?

There’s lots of ways to get involved, work with us and support us – you can support our campaigns, follow us on twitter, get in touch – we love to work in partnership!

We would love you to read and share our recently release ‘Dropped Into a Cave’ report! You can also read more about our work in Scotland on our website

And something a bit silly to end – if Save the Children was an animal what would it be and why?

That’s a good question – an animal that is adaptable and dependable, one that helps out when needed, but knows when to move on and hands over to others to blossom.  Maybe a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly…

I think we’ll have to come back to you on that one!

A red buttery with the Save the Children logo on its wings

We think that Save the Children look pretty good as a butterfly – don’t you?

To get your organisation featured in our Membership Spotlight contact Together’s Membership Outreach Assistant Isla on

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