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This week Railway Children's local partner in Glasgow held a
reception hosted by George Adam MSP at the Scottish Parliament.
Aberlour Young Runaways Service (formerly Running: Other Choices)
held the event in conjunction with Railway Children, and our
corporate partner Aviva. The reception celebrated 10 years of
Aberlour supporting Scotland's young runaways through the Young
Runaways Service, and included a special video message from
Children's Laureate, Julia Donaldson MBE.
Since 2001, Aberlour have been providing support to this
extremely vulnerable group of young people and currently provide a
range of support services, including Scotland's only refuge for
young runaways. Over 9,000 children under the age of 16 run away
each year in Scotland and 1 in 6 of those will experience some kind
of either physical or sexual assault whilst running. Shockingly,
only a third will be reported missing.
Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive of Aberlour Child Care Trust, said:
"It's important that we celebrate the ten years of successes that
we've had with the Aberlour Young Runaways Service, but we need to
keep things in perspective; young people in Scotland are still
running away, and still need support from organisations like
ourselves, so we must do more to help young people before they
reach crisis point.
"Without the generous support of our partners Railway Children,
Aviva and the STV Appeal, Aberlour Young Runaways Service could not
have made nearly as big an impact and difference to the lives of
the young people we've worked with over the years. Glasgow and
South Lanarkshire Local Authorities have worked extremely closely
with this service and we are keen to work more intensely with other
local authorities to ensure we meet the rights and needs of young
runaways in Scotland."
Andy McCullough, Head of UK Policy and Affairs for Railway
Children, added: "With cuts to frontline children's services left,
right and centre, Aberlour Young Runaways Service has to be one of
the real success stories at a time when good news is scarce. The
work Railway Children does with Aberlour is all about making it
easier for children at risk on the streets to come forward, because
as long as they feel their only choice is to hide in the shadows,
the number of children at risk of exploitation and violence will
continue to spiral."
Ken Dunbar, George Adam, Laura Irvine,
Andy McCullough and Sharon Orr
George Adam MSP, who hosted the reception at the Parliament
said, "For the past ten years, Aberlour Young Runaways Service has
done an excellent job of helping and supporting young people in
Scotland who have or have been about to, run away. I'm really
pleased to be supporting Aberlour to mark this milestone, and look
forward to hearing more about their plans for the future."
Sharon Orr, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Aviva commented:
"The numbers of children running away in Scotland every year is
truly shocking - the fact that this is such a hidden problem in our
society makes it hard to believe it's actually taking place on our
own doorsteps. Through Aviva's Street to School programme, we are
delighted to have been able to continue working with Railway
Children to support the crucial services provided by Aberlour Young
Runaways Service, allowing us to directly help in protecting young
people at risk in Scotland."
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