Stafford Ward Memorial Lecture
Nacoa’s annual Stafford Ward Lecture at the House of Commons closed out #COAWeek2024 (11 to 17 February). COA Week is an international campaign raising the profile of children affected by their parents’ drinking. Reaching children, young people and adults who do not yet have the help and support they deserve.
As living proof of this year’s theme ‘breaking the silence’, our moving and inspiring speakers included Married at First Sight star and social worker Chanita Stephenson alongside Calum Best, Sara Britcliffe MP, Liam Byrne MP, Sarah Drage, George Freeman MP and Lorri Haines.
At the event, 12 year old Amelie presented her letter to MPs calling on government to support children like her who are affected by a parent’s drinking.
“Dear Government, Please change the law around alcohol and help children like me so not as many people end up like this. If you even care about lives and want to save more people, then the NHS won’t be so busy! Please I beg you! Please help Nacoa to help children of alcoholics so they can be happyer and have someone to understand them. I miss my dad so much and so does my brother. I would be so happy if you help us all please.”
We delivered her letter with our own joint AFA letter to the minister @andrealeadsom pleading with government to reinstate the children of alcohol-dependent parents strategy which was tragically abolished in 2022.
This year’s event was kindly hosted by Patron and tenacious advocate Rt Hon. Liam Byrne MP. With his help, we’ve grown into the community predicted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and we are still the only country world-wide to have produced a ‘Manifesto for Change’ for children of alcoholics. Liam let us know that the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children of Alcoholics has been re-launched.
Government might not be listening right now. But, alongside the parliamentary group, we will never stop championing the cause for children like Amelie.
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