The news comes as Our Year 2022, Manchester’s year-long celebration of children and young people, gets underway, offering a packed programme of activities and opportunities for children and young people of all ages.
Acceptance onto the UNICEF programme is just the start of what will be a two-to-four-year process throughout which the city must demonstrate that Manchester is a place where the local council and its partners are committed to advancing children’s rights, and have worked with UNICEF UK to put them into practice. The city must show that it is a place where more children feel safe, heard, cared-for, and able to flourish, through the changes it makes.
Achieving Child Friendly status would be a big achievement for the city and would be a formal recognition of the positive way it treats its children and young people, putting them at the heart of city life.
It will complement the permanent legacy of activities, opportunities and experiences that is being built through the Our Year campaign to help make Manchester one of the very best places for young people to grow up in.
In accepting the council’s application to join its Child Friendly Cities programme, UNICEF confirmed that the council’s application set out a strong strategic commitment to the vision and how it will support Manchester’s ambitions for and with its children and young people.
Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children and Schools, Manchester City Council, said:
“This is the first step in an important journey for Manchester that is going to transform the city and improve everyday life for our children and young people. We’ve long considered ourselves to be a place that respects and values our young people, but we want to be at the top of our game in this and up there amongst the world’s leading child friendly cities.
“We’re putting children and young people at the heart of decision-making in the city- where they will be listened to, respected and able to influence decisions. We want to empower young people so that they can help us make our city better- for themselves and for future generations.
“We want Manchester to be the best it can be and for our young people to live the very best lives they can in a city they’re happy and proud to call their home.”
There are four stages to the journey toward Child Friendly City status moving through Discovery, Development, Delivery and finally, after three to four years, Recognition – which sees an independent panel of children’s rights experts assess the progress made and decide whether to recognise a candidate city or community as UNICEF child friendly.
Manchester’s official programme start date will be confirmed in due course.