Last night as I sat in the Phoenix Picturehouse watching A second Chance, I was struck by the stark reality of how many of the social problems we struggle with share a common thread in that they have typically all been influenced by relationships experienced in early lives. So chillingly told by the man who said 'as a boy I was often thrown through a window so I could get inside and open the door of the house my dad was going to burgle'.
So it was incredibly heart warming to read in the papers this morning about a British social entrepreneur who after years of research is so impressed with what he sees as probably the best children's home in the world, is now planning to import the Copenhagen model to the UK, with the first home set to open in Surrey in 2020.
This is just the sort of inspired investment and joined up thinking we need if we are to help those who have not been born into lives full of love and opportunity and to prevent the inevitable consequences.
As Akpan-Inwang and his team work hard to bring their vision to life, they hope others will follow their lead. “We want to work with other parts of the sector to innovate together.” The past five years have seen a 20% increase in the number of children in care in the UK. So the Lighthouse vision is needed now more than ever. “There are no short cuts when it comes to children’s wellbeing,” says Olsen. “I see more and more in the UK and elsewhere a move towards quick fixes, patching people up. But you only have one chance at childhood. And if you get it wrong, you’re going to get an adult who needs more help and has problems later on. Taking a short-term approach to the welfare of children is a real failure of vision.”