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CHILDREN  and young people in Cardiff will form an integral part of the city’s approach to recovery and renewal from the impact of the pandemic.

A series of short and long term plans have been set out in a report to be considered by Cabinet at its next meeting on Thursday, May 20 focussing on the delivery of a Child Friendly Recovery.

The report recognises the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s education, rights, wellbeing, and future pathways into employment and represents the Child Friendly Recovery element of the Council’s Capital Ambition: Recovery and Renewal Programme which covers four key areas of recovery including green, economic, child-friendly and organisational.

Cardiff has made significant progress in embedding children’s rights into the Council’s strategies and the way in which children and young people are supported and nurtured since the launch of the Child Friendly Cardiff Strategy in 2018, which set out the ambition to be recognised as a Child Friendly City.

Recognising the pioneering role that the Council has played as one of the first to join its Child Friendly Cities and Communities programme, the UK Committee for UNICEF has suggested that Cardiff submits for Child Friendly City recognition later this year.

The recovery plan has been developed with children and young people at its heart and features plans for greater partnership working across various council services and with partners, to ensure that Cardiff is a ‘Great Place to Grow Up’ where the voices, needs and rights of all children and young people are respected and where all children and young people are safe, healthy, happy and able to share in the city’s success.

Cardiff Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said:

“We are committed to becoming a UNICEF UK Child Friendly City and so it’s crucial that this ambition is reflected in the development and delivery of our programme of recovery and renewal.

“Children and young people have missed out on so much during the pandemic and it is vital that we initially address the need for them to recover social, recreational, sport and leisure experiences that they have lost, and to simply ‘be’ with their friends.

“Through joint efforts across all Council departments, public services and partnerships across the city region, we can help to make sure that the disruption and any negative experiences of the pandemic do not have a lasting and detrimental effect on our children and young people.

“The past year has also brought about unprecedented change and we now have an opportunity to reflect not just on the experiences of the pandemic but on our Child Friendly journey to date and to consolidate the lessons learned before setting out our future missions.”

While acknowledging that all children and young people have been affected by the disruption of the past year, the report recognises that for the city’s most vulnerable children and young people the impact of the pandemic has been greater, exacerbating existing inequalities in our communities.

The recovery approach to supporting children and young people, therefore, consists of a universal response for all children and young people and targeted response for more vulnerable groups.

The universal response has four specific areas of focus – Health & Safety, Re-engagement and wellbeing, Maintaining learning and Pathways to Progression.

Actions in this part include the delivery of a citywide Children and Young People’s Festival – ‘A Summer of Smiles, enhanced Youth Service provision and close partnership working between schools, the Youth Service, Into Work Services and wider Cardiff Commitment partners to ensure that all young people leaving school and education other than at school in 2021 secure a positive destination into further education, employment or training.

Key areas of focus for the short-term targeted response for vulnerable children and young people at risk of falling further behind and likely to be most disadvantaged in terms of educational outcomes, health & wellbeing and future life chances are identified in the report as Safeguarding and Wellbeing, Ambition, Opportunities and Progression and Youth Social & Personal Development programmes and Community Wellbeing.

Cardiff will also work towards the publication of a refreshed Child Friendly Strategy building upon the experience and lessons learnt over the last year. This refresh will set out shared commitments, as well as a three-year plan, with an ambition that all children and young people have an equal chance to thrive and reach their potential.

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