Who We Help

Large project 2020: Save the Children – Children’s Places

Children’s Places blends principles from family learning, community development and engagement and place-based approaches to engage and empower communities to improve the lives of young children experiencing poverty in Scotland. They apply a community-led action planning approach, bringing together local people to define their local community and to capture ideas to improve children’s wellbeing using the SHANARRI indicators as a framework to guide this process. Children’s Places facilitates the conditions locally to give children, families and the wider community a voice in shaping the support and services that are available to them. In doing so, they create sustainable and meaningful change to ensure every child has the opportunities they deserve.

Key achievements

  • Working with third party organisations, such as PEEK and Corra to redefine their user testing approach in response to new COVID-19 guidelines
  • developed 3 x age and stage appropriate consultation packs for families to find out about their experiences of wellbeing during lockdown.


Place-based work and community engagement approaches have long been recognised as fundamental to Scotland’s approach to tackling poverty. This has been supported by an ever evolving, comprehensive and complex policy framework. However, recent reports from Audit Scotland and others consistently conclude that there is limited evidence of successful engagement and influence with people from deprived areas. There is even less evidence of this in relation to children. By providing a theoretical framework and a practical resource, which supports children and families to understand and improve their wellbeing at community level, Children’s Places supports successful engagement in communities across Scotland – building skills, knowledge and understanding of what works best and how to do this and the difference it makes to families.


Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire Council are committed to supporting the groups that have been established through Children’s Places over the years. This is evident in their prioritisation of community lets, ensuring that the legacy groups are stable and able to operate long-term from within the community. Legacy groups have gone on to further develop their own agenda and remit, including Stronger Communities Glenburn operating a food bank during lockdown, becoming invaluable community assets.


Children’s Places provides opportunities for children and families to become involved in collective action at a place level, and by doing so, many feel empowered by the process and begin to feel more able to bring about positive change in their community. Through a series of tried and tested engagement sessions, Children’s Places uncovers the experiences and views of children and families in relation to wellbeing in their local community. The approach can lead to groups of families setting goals for their community and creating action plans, working with local service providers to deliver a long-term strategy for improving children’s wellbeing or the establishment of community-based partnerships, where children, families and the wider community are supported to shape local services and to sustain improvements through shared goals and governance.