The Trust has campaigned for and with former child migrants and their families from the very start.
When the Trust was first established in July 1987, very few individuals or organisations had even heard about Britain's unique peacetime policy of child migration. In fact, you could have counted those with a basic grasp of its post-war history on the fingers of one hand.
A visit to your local library in search of books or a video on the subject was doomed to fail. There was no option of using google for child migration because google had not been invented. Today, you could drown in an ocean of instant images and text. In 1987, information was like water in the desert - rare, valuable and difficult to find.
Given this total lack of popular information about child migration, it was obvious that to develop its services the Trust had to campaign to expand public awareness about the needs of former child migrants. Thus, campaigning was an absolute necessity since public support for the Trust's work was vital in securing both grants and donations to fund services.
Child migration was a small but significant part of Britain's child care strategy which became an obscure, almost hidden chapter in recent social policy. It was by no means certain that child migration would survive the Second World War. Indeed, it ceased during the war because shipping children overseas was clearly a very dangerous policy.
Immediately after the war, bold steps were taken to construct better quality, universal services, including the NHS, to form the Welfare State. These could easily have left child migration on the shelf collecting dust as an outdated policy from a bygone age. This helps to explain why members of the public knew so little about child migration and react with surprise when informed that it continued until 1970. A campaign to raise the profile of child migration would inevitably shine a spotlight of scrutiny on a policy which had previously generated public concern at the plight of extremely vulnerable children.
The items listed in our media and books section are evidence of our attempts to promote public debate and insight into the difficulties faced by former child migrants and their families. In addition, attention has been directed to the extremely limited provision of services available to meet their pressing needs.
For example, our first grant from the British government in 1990 was only barely sufficient to employ one Social Worker to deliver a nationwide service across the entire United Kingdom for one year. Such a small grant served as a token gesture rather than a serious attempt to deal with the scale of urgent need. When this funding was terminated, campaigning formed part of a survival strategy as well as having an educative role.
Similarly, the decision to cooperate with the documentary 'Lost Children of the Empire' was guided by the opportunity to revisit Australia and explore the Canadian and African dimensions of child migration for the first time. In this way, delivering the Trust's services paved the way for promoting public awareness of the need to develop the Trust's work.