Global recognition for Cardiff, as city is crowned UK’s first ever UNICEF Child Friendly City

Global recognition for Cardiff, as city is crowned UK’s first ever UNICEF Child Friendly City


Today, Cardiff Council can proudly announce the city has been officially declared a UNICEF Child Friendly City –the first of its kind in the UK.

The prestigious and internationally-acknowledged status has been awarded to Cardiff in recognition of the steps the council and its partners have taken over the past five years to advance the human rights of children and young people across the city.

Cardiff Council and its partners joined the UK Committee for UNICEF’s (UNICEF UK) Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme in 2017 as part of a pioneering cohort. Since then, it has been implementing strategies to embed children’s rights – as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – into its policies and services.

Working with the city’s children and young people, Cardiff has prioritised six key areas: Cooperation and Leadership; Communication; Culture; Healthy; Family and Belonging; and Education and Learning.

These priorities and goals have been enshrined in Cardiff’s Child Friendly Strategy since 2018. Workingin partnership with organisations across the city, a significant number of projects, initiatives andactions have been undertaken to ensure that children and young people are able to claim their rights, thrive and reach their potential, whilstaddressing the barriers which may limit their life chances.

Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomassaid: “Since the launch of Cardiff’s Child Friendly Strategy, the city has embarked on a journey of transformation with the aim thatall children, including the most vulnerable, feel safe, heard, nurtured and able to thrive, to become a place where their rights are respected by all.

“Through the shared ambition of other public services, extensive work has been carried out to ensure that Cardiff is a placewhere all children and young people, regardless of belief, ethnicity, background or wealth are safe, healthy, happy and able to share in the city’s success with equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.

“The foundation of this change has been the development of arights respecting culture across the council and city-wide partners to ensure our staff are knowledgeable and confident regarding rights and their practice. This has been supported by policy which has empowered children and young people to be meaningfully involved in decisions that matter to them, enabling services to meet their needs and adults to be more accountable for the way children and young people’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.”

Some highlights achieved to date include;

  • 40,000 children and young people have participated in wellbeing programmes including Summer of Fun and Winter of Wellbeing events.
  • 42,254 children and young people have accessed early help and support via the new Family Support Gateway since April 2019.
  • 66,324 children aged 5-14 have accessed local authority play provision since April 2020
  • 73% of Cardiff schools are working to embed children’s rights as part of the UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools Award.
  • 3,995 children and young people have received participation and rights training.
  • Almost 14,000 active citizenship hours have been delivered by young people through groups including the Children and Young People Citizen Panel, Cardiff Influencers and the Children’s Youth Council.
  • 4,807 Council staff members have received rights training.
  • There have been over 700 opportunities available to children and young people to meaningfully participate in Cardiff Council decision-making.
  • 50 teams of children were engaged with to design new areas of the city through Minecraft Education.
  • 2,785 children have participated in design, monitoring and evaluation of Council services.
  • 12,000 young people provided views via the Child Friendly City Survey.
  • More than 155,00 thousand packs of products have been delivered to schools to supportCardiff’s commitment to promote period dignity since March 2019.
  • 19 streets helping to reduce traffic at 22 schools have been made safer through the School Streets Scheme.
  • Ninecity-wide outdoor Story Trails have been developed for families to enjoy.
  • More than2861children have accessed over 90 free extra-curricular activities through The Passport to the City initiativehelping them develop a sense of pride in their community and city.
  • 43 partners have delivered hundreds of initiatives for young peoplein areas such as science and technology, arts and culture and health and wellbeing to enrich their learning experiences within and beyond the classroom.


Cllr Thomasadded: “Receiving UNICEF Child Friendly City status is a key milestone in Cardiff’s long-term child friendly plans.The work to make a city where the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children and young people are at the heart of policies, programmes and decisions has significantly progressed but there is still work to be done and we remain committed to making children’s rights a reality and look forward to working with children and young people to further develop our rights approach.

“I would like to congratulate and thank Cardiff’s Child Friendly team and all of our partner organisations who have helped to realise the city’s ambitions and who have made history, putting Cardiff on the map for its hard work and determination of putting children first in everything we do.”

Cardiff Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sarah Merrysaid:”Ten years ago, Wales put Children’s Rights at the heart of their laws with all Welsh ministers, public services and large national organisations paying attention to children’s rights in everything they do. Cardiff has built on this culture and since 2018 we have achieved great things despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“Our Covid Recovery, for example, has been one of many strategies that focusses on children and young people who are particularly vulnerable, developing solutions that seek to improve education and health outcomes and provide families with the right support at the right time.

“We have improved our understanding of the lived experiences of a wider range of children and young people to promote their dignity and we have endeavoured to promote the importance of adopting a child’s rights approach across services, policy and programmes.

“To have formal UNICEF Child Friendly City recognition is a culmination of almost five years of hard work, commitment and dedication from teams across the city who have worked tirelessly to achieve this status.

“Cardiff should feel very proud and excited as we look forward to a child friendly futurewhere we continue our ambition of making Cardiff a city wherechildren and young people are at its heart and where the voices, needs and rights of every child and young person are respected.”

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), said:“Becoming the first UNICEF Child Friendly City in the UK is testament to the significant commitment and hard work that has taken place by Cardiff council and its partners over the past five years. It also marks a promise to the city’s children and young people – that the council will continue to make sure children’s voices are at the heart of local decisions, and to making sure all children and young people – especially those who are most vulnerable and marginalised – have their rights upheld, now and in the future.”

Arthur Lilley Templeman (Vice Chair) from Cardiff’s Child Friendly Cardiff Advisory Board:“Becoming a UNICEF recognised Children Friendly City demonstrates the progress that Cardiff has made over the past 5+ years in ensuring that all children know about and can access their rights. Young people’s voices have been at the centre of this journey from the start, which is why now is the time for us to celebrate our success and feel empowered to keep engaging with young people in a meaningful way, feeling empowered to continue to make rights a reality in Cardiff for years to come.”

To mark Cardiff’s Child Friendly recognition, a celebratory event will take place today, Friday October 27that Cardiff City Stadium from 10.00am – 2.00pm.

Organisedby Child Friendly Cardiff,‘Rights Fest’will see more than 300 children and young people invited to take part in a host of activity includingworkshops, performances and activities exploring children’s rights as well as thefirst ever Child Friendly Cardiff Awards.

Representatives from UNICEF UK, Cardiff Council and the city’s Civic Society will join in the celebrations and formally sign the UNICEF UK Child Friendly City Recognition Agreement.

The city will shine blue to commemorate the occasion with city centre street dressing, flags flying at Cardiff Castle and the city’s iconic buildings all being lit up in the Child Friendly Cardiff colour.

You can find out more about Child Friendly Cardiff here:Child Friendly Cardiff