Published on
09 July 2019

Barnardo’s new President Natasha Kaplinsky OBE praised Barnardo’s for highlighting the hopes and fears of young people in a special report launched by the charity at yesterday’s Parliamentary reception.

Natasha Kaplinsky and children from Barnardo's Wellbeing Hub
Natasha Kaplinsky and children from Barnardo's Wellbeing Hub

The newsreader, presenter and journalist gave her first speech as President at the charity’s Annual Parliamentary Reception yesterday (Monday), at the House of Commons and sponsored by Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP.

A new Barnardo’s report, ‘Overcoming Poverty of Hope’, which looks at the concerns young people have for the future, including climate change, Brexit and crime drew widespread support from attendees and the charities celebrity supporters.

Natasha was welcomed by Barnardo’s Chief Executive of  Javed Khan and joined by VIP Ambassadors including actor and director Andy Serkis, actor Louisa Clein who played paedophile teacher Maya in Emmerdale; singer Nicola Roberts; and television presenter Sonali Shah.

Other celebrity ambassadors and supporters included former TOWIE star and foster carer Debbie Douglas; former Made in Chelsea star and TV presenter Sam Thompson; actor Priyanga Burford; TV presenter Anila Chowdhry and Lifestyle Blogger Rumena Begum.

Javed Khan and Louisa Clein
Chief Executive of Barnardo's Javed Khan and actor Louisa Clein, who played paedophile teacher Maya in Emmerdale

Young people from Barnardo’s services also attended alongside MPs and representatives from the charity sector.

Natasha Kaplinsky said: “I’m delighted to be joining Barnardo’s as the charity’s new President.

“There are so many challenges for children these days. It must be frightening growing up now. They have so many concerns, environmental changes, the internet, difficulties breaking into jobs, and believing they’ll never affording a house. It’s even harder for the most vulnerable children Barnardo’s supports – like children growing up in the care system.

“My aim is to visit as many services as I can and meet as many young people as possible to learn more about the challenges they face and how the charity is helping them.”

The following actors who attended the reception said:

Louisa Clein “I’m really proud to champion Barnardo’s. It is so important that young people receive the support they need to navigate the challenges they may face as they grow up so they can go on to have a bright future.”

Javed Khan and Andy Serkis
Chief Executive of Barnardo's Javed Khan and actor Andy Serkis 

Andy Serkis “Barnardo’s has always been crucial in supporting young people to achieve their dreams. With their latest report revealing young people’s hopes and fears for the future, it is even more important they are able to access the support they need when they need it.”

Sam Thompson “It’s very important to me to attend events like this to put a spotlight on the needs of vulnerable children and young people. We need to work together so today’s young people feel they are being listened to and their hopes and fears are not being ignored.”

Barnardo’s ‘Overcoming the Poverty of Hope’ report reveals two thirds (67 per cent) of young people believe their generation will be worse off than their parents. It also reveals that 62 per cent of 16-24-year-olds feel the government cares more about older generations than their own.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan, said: “I am hugely grateful to our new President and all the celebrities,  MPs and other supporters who attended the event to hear about Barnardo’s vision, values and the positive impact we have on the lives of the most vulnerable childrenand young people in the UK.

“When young people feel there is little or no possibility of a positive future, what we call a ‘poverty of hope’, they can be vulnerable to exploitation and criminality.

“Collectively, we can help young people overcome this ‘poverty of hope’ by believing in them, nurturing their talents, providing opportunities, knocking down barriers, and listening to them when it comes to decisions that affect their futures.”

*The findings came from a YouGov poll of 1,036 young people commissioned by children’s charity.