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Appeal for volunteers: Can you support Barnardo’s?

Barnardo’s is appealing for volunteer Children’s Advocates in Cornwall.


Bodmin Life has been approached to help spread the word about an important charity, in the hope that more people might step forward and take on a new challenge, while helping young people in Cornwall via the largest national children’s charity in the UK, Barnardo’s.


Allison Piggott started volunteering as a Children’s Advocate in Cornwall for the charity almost two years ago. Barnardo’s logo says, ‘BELIEVE IN CHILDREN’, and from the start this has been Allison’s inspiration.


She said: “Advocacy is about being the voice of the child. An advocate empowers children and young people experiencing the care system or involved in child protection proceedings, to make sure that their rights are respected and their voices are heard. Advocates represent their views, thoughts, wishes and feelings for meetings that are attended by family members, carers and professionals (including social workers, school and health professionals and sometimes even the police).

“A child or young person may choose to read their own views out at a meeting, or will ask me to read them. Sometimes they choose not to attend a meeting and I will be their voice in that meeting.”

Thomas Barnardo was born in Dublin 1845. As a young man he moved to London to train as a doctor. When he arrived, he was shocked to find children living in terrible conditions. Poverty and disease were so widespread that one in five children died before their fifth birthday. The young Barnardo felt an urgent need to help.

In 1867 he set up a ‘ragged school’ where children could get a free basic education, and in 1870 opened his first home for boys. (A girl’s home was to follow and by 1900 it housed 1,500 girls)! Children were trained and work was found for them when they left the homes. Barnardo’s wife, Syrie, was especially keen to support girls who had been driven to prostitution. Protecting children from sexual exploitation continues to be an important part of the charity’s work today.

Barnardo believed that every child deserved the best possible start in life, whatever their background. This philosophy still guides the charity today, as they protect, support and nurture the UK’s most vulnerable children. For more information, go to www.barnardos.org.uk.

Allison added: “I am now lucky enough to be employed by Barnardo’s (since December 2021) and I feel so honoured to work with a brilliant team in Cornwall who are passionate about ensuring that children and young people’s voices are heard, their rights are upheld and they are empowered to make decisions about their lives.

“We are always looking for amazing volunteers who share our passion. We could not do what we do without them. At this moment, we are really short of volunteer Advocates in East Cornwall. We offer thorough and in-depth training and a robust support system. If you would like to find out more please email me: allison.piggott@barnardos.org.uk

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