2022: A year your support made a difference

Tuesday 27 December 2022
Abby, a young girl, is doing therapy play crafts with her support worker. They are both smiling and laughing.

From the rising cost of living to the climate crisis, 2022 has been full of challenges. Despite this, our supporters have continued to be a vital lifeline

You've fundraised, volunteered and campaigned. You helped us be there for vulnerable children and families in the UK.

We reflect on the stories of impact from the past year.


No young person deserves to find themselves cold, hungry and homeless. But during the cold, long winter months, some young people’s only choice is to sleep outside, in their car or sofa surf.

Kelvin and Heather smiling at the camera standing in their garden

Heather and Kelvin volunteer as part of our work tackling youth homelessness. They’re volunteer hosts for Action for Children’s Nightstop project. They make up a bed in their spare room for young people who would otherwise have nowhere to go. In a few short days, they make a huge difference in the lives of homeless young people.


We know from the work at our services that an increasing number of children and young people are presenting with a gender identity that’s different to when they were born. One such story is Charlie's*.

Transgender woman

*Name changed to protect identity

Charlie came out as a transgender when she was 12 years old. She threw a letter down the stairs to her family to tell them she was in the wrong body. Now 17, after leaving home, Charlie is living in Edinburgh. We’ve been there for Charlie, providing support and helping her find a job.

We want young people of all identities to feel supported.

Find out how you can too


Being a young carer can be an isolating, worrying and stressful experience. We understand this, so we’re here to make things a little easier. We do this through services like Sidekick – an anonymous and confidential text service for young carers.

For young carers like Kirsty, their day-to-day life often looks a bit different from their peers. Kirsty provides all kinds of support for her brother Lexie who has autism. She says it can be rewarding but also difficult to juggle. She let us take a peek into a week in her life.

A teenage  girl, Kirsty,stands smiling in front of a building entrance. She wears a black hoodie and blue jeans


Action for Children delivers 447 services across the UK. We help make sure children get the best start in life and have a loving place to call home. We can provide food and warmth in a crisis. And we can offer the right mental health support, so children thrive.

Mark and Sheraf at the top of the O2 Arena

Sheraf (right) and his independent visitor Mark (left) who've formed a lasting friendship.

During April, we shone a light on three inspiring young people: Rhys, Sheraf and Carmela. These are just a few of countless stories of children, young people and families who’ve overcome challenges with our help.


May was all about royal visits. Up in Glasgow, our Royal Patron, HRH, The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH, The Duke of Cambridge, took part in one of our Roots of Empathy sessions. In these special classes, primary school children have weekly visits from a baby to help them identify and better understand their feelings and those of others.


Their Royal Highnesses met 'Tiny Teacher' Saul, who has taught children about empathy since he was four months old.

Travelling down south, 19-year-old Harleen Kaur Bedi, was invited to the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Harleen, who has Autism, has been supported by Action for Children since she was 8 years old. She was invited in recognition of her important work as a Young Ambassador. Harleen was fortunate to speak to the Duchess who thanked her for everything she does for the charity.


Action for Children, alongside other children’s charities, took part in “It’s Our Care, Day of Action”. This was an in-person lobby at the Houses of Parliament, as part of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform a system that isn’t working.

Over 100 care-experienced young people were in attendance to speak with MPs and government ministers. They shared their views and ideas, calling them to put care-experienced voices at the heart of social care reform.

Rachel and Geroge stand holding signs about #ItsOurCare

You can help change this system too.

Sign our petition (opens in a new tab)


Despite mothers sharing one thing in common, the experience – even the word ‘motherhood’ – can mean so many different things to different people. We visited one of our early years services, Baby Steps in Bradford, funded by Better Start Bradford.

Baby Steps is a group-based programme designed to support expectant parents to navigate the emotional and physical transition into parenthood. Talking to some of the mothers supported by the service, we learnt about their personal experiences of being a mum (and took some cute pictures too!).

Samira, a woman in a red hijab smiles while looking at her baby daughter

Samira has found becoming mum, to 9-month-old Yara, an exciting experience.


Fatima Whitbread MBE, and her son Ryan, took on the daring challenge of climbing the Gran Paradiso. They completed rigorous training and tackled falling rocks and long days, all to raise money for vulnerable children and families.

Fatima Whitbread and son Ryan climbing up the Gran Paradiso

Fatima was inspired to fundraise and spread awareness of the work after growing up in care herself. She said, "It makes such a big difference when children feel seen and know they’re understood... Action for Children have definitely got it right. They’re making sure children get the best start in life and have a loving place to call home."


From walks and runs to challenging feats, every year Action for Children supporters fundraise at events around the country.

The final Kiltwalk took place in Edinburgh in September. Over five months, we were joined by over 200 Kiltwalkers at various locations around Scotland. After walking miles and miles wearing tartan, together they raised over £30,000.

Group of people in Action for Children tshirts smile at camera with Action for Children mascot cosmo

Action for Children mascot Cosmo took a trip to Scotland to cheer on our Kiltwalkers.

We were incredibly also proud to see 77 people join #TeamActionForChildren at the Great North Run. They raised £23,100. And just a couple weeks later, more Action for Children runners took part in one of the biggest fundraising days in the UK – the London Marathon – raising £60,000.

Want to fundraise in 2023?

Find an event near you


Fundraising continued in full swing as October came around. Boycott Your Bed was back again this year, but with a twist. Bed Boycotters could join live events at locations across the country or virtually at Boycott your Bed: Stay Up.

500 people braved sleeping out on a cold winter night in Leeds, Glasgow, Belfast and London – with more people taking part online at the ‘Stay Up’ version. Incredibly, over £650,000 was raised.

Boycott your Bed LIVE 2022 Sleepers sitting outside in their sleeping bags smiling


Don’t skip the ads! We premiered our first-ever Christmas TV advert in November, as part of our Secret Santa campaign. The ad features three characters – Nathan, Lucy and Tripti. Their stories, narrated by Larry Lamb, represent millions of vulnerable children across the UK who’ll face Christmas without cooked meals, winter clothes and a warm home. Through the support of our Secret Santas, this can change.

With an estimated 100,000 children and young people who’ll spend this Christmas in care this year, John Lewis took the opportunity to shine a light on an often-overlooked issue in their iconic Christmas advert. We were fortunate to provide input as part of our work with the John Lewis Partnership, to help more children and young people in care and those with care experience.

John Lewis 2


What would Christmas be without Secret Santa? So far, almost 30,000 of you have become a Secret Santa. Your generous support will help us reach more and more children and families in the UK.

Your support helps us change the lives of grandmother Paula and grandchild Nathan*. When Paula found herself caring for her nephew during Chrismtas, our support became a lifeline. She said,

“Finally, we won’t miss out on the magic of Christmas”.

We couldn’t do any of this without you

In the 153 years since Action for Children was founded, our mission is still the same – safe and happy childhoods. And we can’t achieve this without you: the Action for Children supporters.

It’s through people like you that we can support hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and families every year.

Help us continue to make an impact

Donate, volunteer or raise funds to support our work

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