Monday, 21 November 2011

Social enterprise and child poverty

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I went to a fascinating lecture at the RSA on Thursday about the role of social enterprises and social franchising in mitigating the effects of child poverty. Listen to it here. The speaker was June O’Sullivan, CEO of London Early Years Foundation. She talked about the impact of poverty on children’s social, emotional and intellectual development. There are few aspects of children’s lives on which poverty does not have an affect: behaviour, health, language and literacy (this particularly close to my heart because of the training I give on reading in the early years), capacity to learn. Appallingly, the children and families who need the best childcare, in order to improve their lives and their life chances, are the ones who usually get the worst. Social enterprises such as LEYF are trying to rectify this, and they are now exploring how to spread good practice through social franchising. Guided by ethical principles, they aim for excellent, multi-generational provision in areas of greatest need. We saw an inspiring video of great early years practice in deprived areas of London that truly engages with young children and their families.