Baroness Joan Walmsley Baroness Walmsley

Baroness Joan Walmsley agreed to join us as Patron in September 2005 to help us develop and continue our work. We were all delighted as she has such an excellent record on working with children; Joan is a Board member of UNICEF UK, a Parliamentary Ambassador for the NSPCC and one of the most prolific and passionate speakers on children's issues in the House of Lords.

Baroness Walmsley hails from Liverpool where she also went to University. After graduating in Biology she went to work in the health service and after a number of years out of the workplace bringing up her children she trained as a teacher and taught in the secondary sector. Before entering the Lords, she worked as a PR consultant.

It was in 1986 that she became politically active in the Liberal Party when her late husband Chris was the candidate in the famous West Derbyshire by-election (held by the Tories by only 100 votes). Since then she has held numerous posts in the local Parties, as a constituency chair, fundraiser, press officer, agent and PPC.

In the wider Party she has served on the Federal Executive, the North West Regional Executive, on several Policy Working Groups, Federal Conference Committee, as President of Women Liberal Democrats and Vice-Chair of the Gender Balance Task Force.

She stood for Parliament in 1992 and 1997 and in the European elections of 1999. She is Spokesperson on Children, Schools and Families in the Lords. She also serves on the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology.



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We are proud and honoured that our work has been recognised by the UK Prime Minister, and that he has given Lesley his Point of Light award, stating
With the Infant Trust Lesley has empowered thousands of women across South Africa to protect and safeguard children in their communities. The education and training she has provided has helped to improve the lives of over 800,000 children, tackling the violence and abuse that affects too many of them in their early years. As we mark International Women’s Day this week I am delighted to recognise all that Lesley has done.”
You can find the full story at https://www.pointsoflight.gov.uk/2268-2/
Why are so many small children abused by male perpetrators in South Africa? Our researcher interviewed 27 perpetrators in prison in South Africa; all are in jail after being found guilty of some of the most terrible crimes against some of the most vulnerable children – some as young as a few days old. Those interviewed are all men aged between 16 years and 84 years old, and all have brutalised and raped at least one child. But the findings aren’t maybe what we might expect – it makes interesting reading.  We have been funding research into this for 5 years and it is finally finished and published – you can read the summary here

Our flagship Caring for Crèches programme has reached into some of the poorest communities in five of the nine provinces in South Africa and we have crèche leaders everywhere clamouring for the training. We have now trained over 2,200 people and they in turn have already positively impacted on the lives of over 160,000 children … and will continue to help many hundreds more children for years to come


Just once in a while, amongst all the amazing work that is done to help children in South Africa, we come across a shining star. One such is Wilhelmina who determined to setup a refuge for abandoned children.
Newsletter The report from our most recent visit to South Africa

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