6 ways you helped us change the lives of children in 2021

Thursday 23 December 2021
Group of children sitting and smiling fun

From campaigning to fundraising, our supporters helped Action for Children make a real difference in 2021. We take a look at what your support helped us achieve

As we reflect on what we’ve achieved the past year one thing rings true: we couldn’t have done it without you. Action for Children supporters enabled us to provide vital support for children, young people and families across the UK.

1. Changing the law for child victims of domestic abuse

Three years of tireless work by our Policy and Campaigns team, various other charities, as well as campaigning from our supporters came to a victorious end with the passing of The Domestic Abuse Bill in April.

This new law means that children exposed to domestic abuse are legally recognised as victims of domestic abuse – and not just witnesses. This is vital to ensure the right support is available to support them to recover from the trauma and go on to have safe and happy childhoods.

2. We helped more children with their mental health

On average, every classroom in Britain has three children with a diagnosable mental health illness. Without proper support, these young people often suffer in silence.

We’ve delivered the Blues Programme in over 150 schools, and to more than 5,500 young people. The sessions provide them with a safe space to talk about their mental health and learn emotional resilience and healthy coping strategies.

In 2021, we also continued the roll-out of a new project providing the tools for good mental health in schools across Wales – delivered face-to-face and digitally. An evaluation of the young participants in the Bouncing Back programme showed that 90% felt they knew how and when to ask for help. Seven out of ten said their confidence had increased, too.


Esther, 15, was struggling with exam stress so bad she forgot to eat. The Blues Programme helped her understand her thoughts and feelings and learn healthy coping strategies.

3. Helping expand our Parent Talk service

The fall-out of the pandemic has added to parental pressure. Over 82% of parents admit to struggling with at least one of the warning signs that may indicate parental burnout.

Your support allowed us to reach hundreds of thousands of parents through our online service Parent Talk. In 2021, we have supported 341,085 parents (over 100,000 more than last year). Our parenting coaches connected with parents in 8,690 one-to-one chats too.

Absolutely fabulous. They’ve left me feeling more positive with the support and the links she’s left for us … The most understanding, patient, helpful person I’ve spoken with in a long time… I could really go in for ages how great they’ve been but I best leave it there

Feedback from a parent

4. We provided emergency help to nearly 10,000 families

Thanks to your support, Action for Children is always ready to step in in a crisis – and this was an incredibly difficult year for the families we help.

In 2021, our emergency funding reached 22,145 children and young people directly. This helped families overwhelmed by financial difficulty, in crisis and in urgent need of additional support. Families received essentials like food vouchers, money to pay the bills, home repairs and access to learning and play.

Natalia and Chloe sit at a kitchen table with Action for Children worker Kirsty

Action for Children key worker Kirsty supported Natalia to find a home and furnish it with basic white goods through our Emergency Fund.

5. Speaking up for struggling children and families

With child poverty continuing to loom large in 2021, you showed how committed you are to standing up for the most vulnerable children and families in our country. You signed petitions, contacted your MPs, and spread the word about our campaigns.

In run-up to the cruel £20 Universal Credit cut this past October, we asked you to remind the government of their responsibility to support struggling families – and we were blown away by your response. Over 14,000 of you signed our petition and 6,800 emails were sent to MPs in opposition to the cut.

While the cut went ahead, our campaigning had a real impact. Our research was quoted by politicians and on the airwaves. The fight is not over - we will continue to speak up for struggling children and families in 2022.

6. We came together to raise funds

Each year our supporters go above and beyond to raise vital funds – and this year was no different.

Action for Children Scotland held its first Action Squad event – raising over £1500.

In July, 3,126 people packed away their pillows to take part in Boycott Your Bed sleepout event. Our supporters were treated to entertainment by famous faces including Dynamo, Jess Haynes and Angela Rippon. This year’s event raised £152,800.

Boycott Your Bed sleepover at West Lothian New Horizons Housing service

Our New Horizons Youth Housing service hosted a Boycott Your Bed slumber party under a gazebo in the garden.

Many of you took part in sponsored challenges, virtually and in person. A noteworthy event was the triumphant return of the London Marathon. Action for Children runners took on the impressive feat to raise over £70,000.

As the festive period rolled around, nearly 40,000 (at the time of writing) people have become a Secret Santa – supporting children who face a Christmas without food, love and warmth.

Interested in fundraising for Action for Children in 2022?

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We couldn’t have done it without you

Thank you to all our supporters – old and new – for all you’ve done this year. It’s been a tough one. But despite the ups and the downs, you’ve made a difference in the lives of so many children.

We know that with your continued support, we can give children the safe and happy childhoods they deserve and make a lasting difference in their lives.

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