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MNers needed for Samantha Cameron London Event for Railway Children - find out more

(50 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 16-Jan-13 14:49:19

As you may know MN is working with the charity Railway Children (who are supported by Aviva) to raise awareness of the issues around children who run away from home - promoting this hidden issue, the work the charity does and helping to raise funds (via donations from Aviva). It is estimated that one child runs away from home every five minutes in the UK. More info here:

We are very excited to say we have been given the opportunity to invite ten Mumsnetters to attend a special event with Railway Children in central London, hosted by Samantha Cameron. We're looking for Mumsnetters who feel passionate about this cause, who perhaps have personal experiences that they are happy to share - either as a parent or maybe from your memories as a child - or who feel strongly about supporting Railway Children, their work and our joint campaign.

Railway Children say "We're very excited to be able to invite ten MNers to join us at a special event hosted by Samantha Cameron to support the partnership between Railway Children, Aviva and Mumsnet, which raises awareness of the issue of young runaways as well as generating funds for the vital projects which support them. We can't wait to meet some of the MNers who have been (or could be)brilliant supporters of our campaign to date in person, hear your thoughts first hand, and get to know you better."

At present we can't give the exact date or location but can say that it will be an early evening event in mid-March and in central London. If you're selected to attend you will be informed by 1 Feb so should be plenty of time to make arrangements for babysitting if needed. No children can attend. There will be a reserve list in case folks can't make it. Aviva has kindly offered to help cover travel costs if needed.

In return for attending we would want MNers to post on a feedback thread about their experiences after the event and share what they have learnt. These comments (and photos from the event) will feature on the MN Railway Children pages and possibly elsewhere (eg facebook/ twitter).

If you're interested in attending please sign up here by Sunday 20th Jan. Please also return to the thread and share why you would like to attend and what it would mean to you. If you're unable to attend please feel free to post on this thread any questions you'd like to be put to Railway Children about this issue.

The shortlisted ten attendees will be emailed by MNHQ asap to finalise details.

Any questions please ask.
Thanks MNHQ

AnyaKnowIt Wed 16-Jan-13 18:26:41

Samantha Cameron? Really hmm

milkwagon Wed 16-Jan-13 18:52:47

Here's a thought: How about not leaving your kids behind in a pub. Maybe then would SC add some gravitas to this event.

LineRunner Wed 16-Jan-13 18:53:49

If there are photos then I presume attendees would potentially be 'outed' IYSWIM?

It sounds great; but I would be grateful if this could be clarified.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 16-Jan-13 18:57:03

linerunner - there's a chance but you could namechange for the feedback thread. We won't announce the MN names of attendees on the site.

LineRunner Wed 16-Jan-13 19:03:54

Oh ok, thanks AnnMN, that's helpful.

ravenAK Wed 16-Jan-13 20:35:41

Sleb endorsement in question too toxic for me, I'm afraid. I can't think of any printable questions I could ask Mrs Cameron...

ThePathanKhansWitch Wed 16-Jan-13 20:48:03

Arf @ Raven! #too rude for Sam Cam.

bosch Wed 16-Jan-13 21:39:58

I think it's great that Mumsnet are associated with the Railway Children - but I can't think that I've ever heard of the organisation except on Mumsnet.

If Sam Cam can get the media to cover the issue and the existence of the Railway Children then I think that can only be a good thing.

I have no idea of what question i could possibly ask her that wasn't about the terrible things the coalition government are doing to the North. But if someone else can get her to do a quote about the Railway Children that is good enough for the national media then well done.

I won't be attending as I would have to secure babysitting for around five hours just to cover the journey to London and back. Maybe I just don't feel passionate enough, but i do know that when i read the original literature it was a real wake up call, that this could happen in any family.

Ruprekt Wed 16-Jan-13 22:16:00

Bother! I thought this was a theatre trip to see the Railway Children.

Not too interested in Sam Cam (though I would have gone to see the show with her!!)

Jins Thu 17-Jan-13 05:04:17

Sorry. It's that whole central London thing that makes it an unattractive proposition. I'd not get home till the early hours

noidles Thu 17-Jan-13 10:23:58

I can't attend, but I don't necessarily think it's such a bad thing that she's endorsing a charity that (from what I can see) does some really great work. If her face/name can get just a teeny bit of publicity for the cause, why not?

As for what I'd ask - I know she can't affect policy (that's not her role), but I'd be interested to know what interested her about this particular cause?

wilbur Thu 17-Jan-13 12:03:45

I agree that any publicity for this issue is worth grabbing as runaway kids are often regarded as having created their own problems. There is a girl missing at the moment who lives not far from my home, yet because she ran away from home last year and was found a few days later at a friend's house, it's not all over the news every day. She is clearly a vulnerable young girl but did she have any help or attention after she ran away last time? I don't know, but I imagine not. sad Anyway, I'm interested in this and would like to hear from Sam Cam about what schemes could be put in place to improve communication and support within vulnerable families to try and avoid kids getting to the point where they feel there is no other way but to runaway.

happynewmind Thu 17-Jan-13 14:35:52

I would go, purely because I believe that the cause is so good and gets little media attention.

I've had experience of a friend's child running away and it scares me with my own child.

I would like to know how the situation is going to be addressed and solved with so manicured to youth services and support though.

happynewmind Thu 17-Jan-13 14:36:58

Damn auto correct.

so many cuts!

happynewmind Thu 17-Jan-13 14:44:47

The biggest problem my friend had was getting media and public attention, her son had never run away before but he was just "another run away"

poppy283 Thu 17-Jan-13 18:14:40

Happynewmind - manicured could be a new euphamism for cuts ...!

Doobydoo Thu 17-Jan-13 18:22:39

London again...there are other parts of the country you know!

Doobydoo Thu 17-Jan-13 18:24:37

I ran away x 2...have never heard samcam speak about this....also Aviva??/why?

I like Sarah Brown!

Mouseface Thu 17-Jan-13 21:25:07

Sorry, no can do, London is like Middle Earth for this here Mousey grin

Too far away what with DS having SN. Sorry Anne MNHQ xx

Evenstar Thu 17-Jan-13 23:29:45

No direct experience of a child running away, but my parents divorced and I have been bereaved and have been through some very tough times with my children after that. I am lucky to have a supportive family and been able to come through it without something terrible like this happening. I also work in Early Years and have seen many family situations through my work where I have thought this could be a possible outcome when children are older. I would like to ask about the work of the charity and whether there are any plans to help professionals working with children to see signs of children at risk of this happening either in the future with the youngest children or in the higher risk age groups.

ThePathanKhansWitch Fri 18-Jan-13 00:28:09

Coalition cuts will push another 200,000 children into poverty.
That won,t do much to keep already vulnerable children/young people from running away.
Maybe I should ask Mrs Cameron her thoughts on that?
That sounds vicious of me, she comes across as a nice woman, however she I find it hard to take her participation in this seriously. Of course she may hold very different views to her husband, but if she does, FOR GODS SAKE, SPEAK UP.

Fanjango Fri 18-Jan-13 00:45:20

I would fully support the cause but feel the involvement of Samantha Cameron at this time is not something I can live with. Many of the reasons for this are covered by ThePathanKhansWitch. Sorry MNHQ but I can't live with the truth that her husband is making families poorer and those most in need of help go without.

AmberLeaf Fri 18-Jan-13 12:32:18

Samantha Cameron........ LTB

PeneloPeePitstop Fri 18-Jan-13 16:38:10

Err... Don't think so.
Sam Cam's involvement with contact a family still makes me feel nauseous considering what her husband's party are doing to disabled people in this country.

Meglet Fri 18-Jan-13 16:43:41

What pathankhanswitch said. I wouldn't put my dc's on show to make people think the Tories are supportive of families.

A token gesture for the media to try and over shadow what the Condems are doing to familes and children.

Meglet Fri 18-Jan-13 16:44:58

ah, ok so kids can't go anyway. I wouldn't go if I could get a babysitter and they had champagne on tap.

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 17:24:46

This is a topic I feel strongly about, and would go but the SamCam link makes me feel very uneasy.

I would love to go but not with Sam Cam, shame they couldnt have chosen someone not link with politics. (especially at the moment when feelings are running high in this country)

ishchel Fri 18-Jan-13 17:35:08

A little PR stunt for the good lady? Like, we are in this all together?

timidviper Fri 18-Jan-13 17:35:34

I agree the charity is a great cause but I do not see Sam Cam as an asset to it. There is more to adding value to a charity than having a public profile

Actually I`m really saddened that they have linked themselves to her, whoever advised them to do that should be sacked. Its a real shame as its such an important charity and needs all the publicity it can get, unfortunately I truly believe that she will give them adverse publicity and stop people from learning more about it.

Bluestocking Fri 18-Jan-13 17:49:14

I'm really disappointed by Railway Children linking themselves with Samantha Cameron. They do great work in India (and I'm sure in other places too, but this is the place I'm most familiar with). And I can of course understand that sleb endorsement is important for getting media exposure. But why would they want "support" from a woman whose husband, with his millionaire cronies, is actively driving UK households into poverty and despair? I'm going to contact them at to tell them what a very bad idea this is.

gazzalw Fri 18-Jan-13 18:22:30

Yes, have to say that my political leanings would make me shy away from anything involving Sam Cameron however much I'm in favour of Railway Children. Someone like Jo Brand would have been much more appropriate or even Paul Bettany (who, if memory serves me correctly was actually homeless as a young man)

Adizzylass1980 Fri 18-Jan-13 21:32:57

This is an issue close to my heart, having had personal experience of this I would be very interested in attending, it will be interesting to find out what Samcam has to say on the subject!

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 21-Jan-13 21:36:09

Evening all,
Sorry that some folks have expressed disappointment about this event, of course that's the opposite of what we intended.

In actual fact Samantha Cameron hosts a different charity evening every week. I wrote to her to ask if she'd include Railway Children in the schedule because we've been working with Aviva for a while now to support and raise awareness of the vital work that the Railway Children do with runaway teens. We hope you've seen the some of the stuff we've been running on the site over the past few months.

Truth is, holding an event in Westminster gives it oxygen in a way that getting a sleb along to a party at MNHQ simply wouldn't. It's simply much more likely to attract media attendees and other potential high-profile supporters of the charity.

We don't think attending this event is an endorsement of the government's policies. As folks have said Samantha Cameron is not responsible for government policy in any case. But as the Prime Minister's wife with a venue like Downing St to offer she is able effectively to raise awareness of good causes like the Railway Children and, whatever your political leanings, that has to be a good thing, doesn't it?

TheSecondComing Tue 22-Jan-13 17:48:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gazzalw Tue 22-Jan-13 18:37:37

I see your point Justine, but still against my politics to go anywhere near a Tory.....or anyone associated with He who must not be named.....

gazzalw Tue 22-Jan-13 18:38:36

Now I can think of another Samantha who would be much more appropriate - Samantha Morton...

ThePathanKhansWitch Tue 22-Jan-13 18:50:35

Not really Justine IMHO. It just doesn,t sit right.
And the fact a different charity night is hosted every week, even worse, I did think perhaps it something close to Mrs Camerons heart(perhaps someone from boarding school had run away to Paris/New York, or even the Ritz mean streets of London). Cynical old leftie moi? Perhaps.

I still think it was a bad call to ask for Mrs Camerons involvement.

I`m sorry I dont agree, you cannot seperate SamCam with tory politics, her name is only known because of <shudder> him.

I think Railway Children will sink with her involvement, which is such a shame as its a fantastic charity raising the profile of runaway teens. Couldnt you have involved someone a little more real?

PeneloPeePitstop Tue 22-Jan-13 20:20:12

Absolutely. Hosting charitable events whilst the policies of her husband's government mean many charities having to fold just seems somehow obscene.

Two hundred thousand children are being pushed into poverty. But that's ok if you do charidee init?

gin4me Wed 23-Jan-13 09:44:45

Common girls, who cares about who is doing something as long as somebody is doing something. (Anyway why is this thread turning into a SamCam whitchhunt. Do you know her personally? Is she doing something awful to anybody? Give her a bit of slack, being involved with a charity is often a bit like flogging a dead horse) As for Aviva (I really do not like them!!!!) I am happy for them to pay £2 on my behalf to a charity that helps teenagers!

ThePathanKhansWitch Wed 23-Jan-13 13:44:42

I don,t think it,s turned into a witch hunt gin.As I said upthread, she comes across as a perfectly nice and pleasant woman.

As does Asma Assad, however unfortunate both are tainted by association.

Disclaimer:I am in no way equating Mr Camerons policies with those of Mr Assad.

AmberLeaf Wed 23-Jan-13 14:11:54

It's not a witch hunt.

But I can't imagine being married to someone who is doing what DC is doing unless you agree with his policies.

So based on that, IMO its a little bit obscene.

No witch hunt, just concern from people.

You are asking people to support and/or go to an event to support a charity which will be fronted by the wife of the Prime Minister who is doing immense damage to families in the UK, his policies are putting untold stress and strain on many families who are all ready struggling to cope.

Do you not think that for many woman, sitting in the same room as a wife and active campaigner of the Tory Party PM would stick a bit in their throat.

ravenAK Wed 23-Jan-13 18:54:16

I couldn't do it.

Sorry, & I'm sure on a personal level she's pleasant enough, but she's not fronting the event as 'Sam who's quite nice & wants to help support runaway children'.

She's only in a position to promote this as 'the Prime Minister's wife with a venue like Downing St to offer', which is exactly why she's been asked to do it.

So the event cannot then be disassociated with the appalling damage said PM is doing to the most vulnerable.

Poor taste & poor judgment IMO.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Jan-13 16:53:06

Hi all, the CEO of Railway Children has asked us to post on her behalf, in response to some of the comments on the thread:

Dear Mumsnetters,
Thank you for your responses to this post and thank you to all of you who have been supporting and following our campaign with MN and Aviva on this forum to date. It's so pleasing to hear such positive feedback about Railway Children and encouraging that this subject is evoking such passionate conversation.

As this particular subject has generated some negative responses for some of you, we felt strongly that we should respond.

As you probably know, children living on the streets in the UK is a hidden issue and as a charity we have struggled for many years to elevate its profile with the general public and within government. People just don't realise there is a problem and that makes our job more difficult.

As well as providing for the immediate needs of vulnerable children, much of our work is about trying to influence long-term change at government level. To do this, we rely on many stakeholders who help to amplify our voice and bring the issue to the fore.

The unique opportunity to address Mrs Cameron will allow us (and some of you) to present this unacceptable issue in a highly public place. We hope that the publicity that this will subsequently generate will provide much needed momentum in our quest to help vulnerable young people.

Our decision to accept this invitation is in no way an expression of our political allegiance. We are not suggesting Mrs Cameron should endorse our campaign and this event is one of many ways we are trying to get this issue on people's agenda. Regardless of which party is in power, this is a rare chance for our organisation to publicly share our concerns, backed-up with support from Mumsnetters. Importantly, we are looking to use the event as a vehicle to speak directly with the media to heighten the profile and the issue of children and young people who runaway.

Your views and opinions are important to us as an organisation and if you would like to contact us directly we would be delighted to hear from you (

Yours sincerely

Terina Keene

Railway Children

whitest4r Wed 30-Jan-13 14:52:35

I've signed up in the hope of an invite. I am a County Councillor (4 years) & a school Governor (7 years) and a mum of a 10yoDD. I have specialised in Children's Services in the Council and Child Protection & Safeguarding as a Governor. I hadn't heard of The Railway Children before Mumsnet posted this, I would like to know more and think the forum with Samantha Cameron sounds like an interesting way to do that.

MariusEarlobe Mon 04-Feb-13 13:47:00

Can I just ask if people have been informed? I had am email asking if I could come on x date and did I need travel costs but haven't heard anything since.

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