Edinburgh 2050: Cities do much better when communities are connected

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Mary Glasgow hopes children’s rights will be placed at the heart of a kinder, more compassionate Edinburgh by 2050

To be successful, a city must listen to the people who live there. That’s exactly what Edinburgh is doing with the 2050 Edinburgh City Vision campaign, and I’m delighted to offer our vision for the future. By 2050, I hope that children’s rights will be at the heart of everything the city does, and that child poverty will have been eradicated.

Children 1st is Scotland’s national children’s charity and our office is based in Bruntsfield. We offer advice and support to families to put children first, and support survivors of abuse, neglect and other traumatic childhood experiences.

In my role I witness the consequences of poverty on a daily basis. I would like to see a kinder, more compassionate city, where we don’t see people living in the streets and one where we give special consideration to children and families who are living in temporary accommodation. Cities do much better when communities are connected, so I believe Edinburgh should focus on reducing isolation. Everyone should have a stake in the city and should have their voice heard, so they can contribute to the design of policy and services.

This is a wonderful city, full of cultural and arts opportunities, and I hope all children will have equal access to these by 2050.

It’s great that the city is looking to the future, but it’s worth noting the excellent initiatives which are already happening today. For example, the City of Edinburgh Council’s ‘Family Group Decision Making’ support service ensures children and their extended families are involved in any decision concerning a child’s welfare.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s ‘1 in 5: Raising Awareness of Child Poverty in Edinburgh’ project in schools has also been very important. It looks at how to make school more affordable for families on low incomes and how we reduce the attainment gap to help children realise their full potential. It’s vital the city has these initiatives, to ensure it is constantly looking to improve.

The key themes of the 2050 Edinburgh City Vision campaign so far are that the city wants to be inspired, connected, fair, and thriving. I think the families I work with would say they want the city to be like this too – they want to be connected to communities, schools, and the city itself.

A city that is ‘inspired’ and ‘fair’ is worth working for and fits with our vision: that all children get a fair chance.

That children who live in difficult circumstances, who may be impacted by poverty or have had adverse childhood experiences are given the same opportunities to learn and contribute to their society. I am responsible for developing and leading Children 1st’s strategy, one that’s based on the rights and needs of the children we support. As part of this, we work with local and national government to ensure the voices of families and children are amplified, and we lobby for them to have a real say.

This is why I’m so excited about the 2050 Edinburgh City Vision campaign – it’s giving the people of the city a chance to influence change and the future direction of the city.

We need the views of Edinburgh people from all over the city and from all backgrounds and ages. So please make sure you share your vision for the future of Edinburgh at www.edinburgh2050.com

Mary Glasgow, 49, Interim Chief Executive Officer at Children 1st