PRESS RELEASE: Living on a Railway Line – celebrating the first anniversary of the wide ranging report that inspired the foundation of a new charity: SicKids

SicKids is a new charity that believes every child should have every chance of good health, every chance of happiness and every chance of protection from harm.

Today, 20 October 2015, marks one year since Professor Andrew Rowland’s Churchill Fellowship report, Living on a Railway Line[1], was launched at MediaCityUK. This report is aimed at turning the tide of child abuse and exploitation as well as improving the protection of children and young people in the United Kingdom (UK) and beyond. It was this report that directly led to the founding, by Professor Rowland in June 2015, of SicKids. With a board of five fantastic trustees[2], SicKids will raise funds to be able to support projects working with children and young people in Cambodia and the North West of England.

Living on a Railway Line contains ten key recommendations for the UK designed to build strong and healthy communities with children at their hearts. Themes that emerge from the report include the need for a ChildSafe scheme to be piloted in the UK, better training to recognise and respond to cases of potential child sexual exploitation, the importance of prohibiting physical punishment of children, more robust advocacy on behalf of children and young people and mandatory reporting of child abuse.

Since the launch of the report Professor Rowland has liaised with stakeholder organisations and has developed his initial proposals set out in the report, now believing that there should be mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect (including exploitation, trafficking, modern slavery, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and sexual abuse) by regulated professionals working with children and young people in the UK.

Over the course of the last year Professor Rowland has lectured nationally and internationally to disseminate the findings of his report, including in Cambodia[3], Singapore, Salford[4] and at a special event at Blenheim Palace[5] to mark the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

In March 2015 Professor Rowland attended a Reception at Buckingham Palace[6], hosted by Her Majesty the Queen, where he was able to discuss the recommendations in Living on a Railway Line with senior members of the Royal Family, including Her Majesty the Queen, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, and with members of the House of Lords and Sir Winston Churchill’s family.


Photograph 1: Professor Rowland attended a Reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by Her Majesty the Queen in March 2015 and was able to discuss his Living on a Railway Line report findings

Living on a Railway Line has also resulted in the launch of a new three-year Global Partnership to help vulnerable children and young people living on and around the beaches and streets of Southern Cambodia. The main goals of the partnership are to share clinical expertise as well as knowledge of child protection, and child health, issues between the partnership organisations so that all can develop and learn new skills from one another.

Notable achievements that have resulted from Living on a Railway Line over the last twelve months include:

  • The launch of a new charity, SicKids[7]
  • The launch of a new global partnership to help vulnerable Cambodian children[8] many of whom live on beaches and streets


  • New policy on Safeguarding Vulnerable Children at the British Medical Association[9]


  • A series of Empowering Practice and Inspiring Innovation events[10]


Key areas of focus over the next twelve months will include:

By SicKids:

  • Fundraising and increasing the ability of SicKids to support projects in the North West of England and Cambodia

By Professor Rowland as follow-ups to the launch of Living on a Railway Line:

  • Finalisation of proposals to introduce a ChildSafe pilot in the UK[11]
  • Development of proposals to enhance the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Medical Pro-bono Panel to include child protection work[12]

SicKids is in the start-up phase of operations and needs your help!

You can help to raise funds for SicKids, without any cost to yourself, by using the following link when you shop on the internet:

Alternatively, SicKids accepts donations directly by cheque or bank transfer or via Virgin Money Giving:

Virgin Money Giving

You can find out more details by contacting the team online:

Projects that SicKids would like to support over the coming twelve months are here:

Professor Andrew Rowland said, “The response to Living on a Railway Line has been fantastic over the last year with key individuals and organisations responding positively to the recommendations set out within the report. Particular thanks must go to The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust as well as my University and NHS colleagues for enthusiastic support over the last two years.

“It is communities that are best able to protect children from exploitation and other forms of abuse and we can all do more to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.

“Children are the future of our global society and that society will only prosper in the future if the children of today are better protected. Every child should have every chance of good health, every chance of happiness and every chance of protection from harm; these are goals that will be at the very forefront of all of the work of SicKids.

“To achieve these goals requires a different way of thinking about children and young people to recognise and promote the significant impact they can, and should, have on our communities and the societies in which they are placed. This should begin with the launch of a ChildSafe scheme pilot here in the UK to evaluate the transformational change that could happen if citizens and communities, with children at their very hearts, act together to create safer places for those children to live and prosper.

“As Sir Winston Churchill, himself, said, ‘what is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?’

“That is the challenge that I set to you – what is it that you will do to better protect children and young people in the future?”


Notes to editors:

The author of the report Living on a Railway Line is:

Professor Andrew Rowland

Professor Rowland is Honorary Professor at the University of Salford and a Consultant in

Paediatric Emergency Medicine in the North West of England. His biography is here:

Living on a Railway Line

Living on a Railway Line ( was launched by the University of Salford at an event at MediaCityUK on 20th October 2014 in advance of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A quarter of a century later, the report finds, there are still laws, policies and procedures in the UK and internationally which fall way short of properly protecting children.

Andrew’s Fellowship journey took him to Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Cambodia. It was whilst undertaking a mobile health clinic beside a railway line in Sihanoukville, Cambodia that he was inspired to give his report the title Living on a Railway Line. He travelled 35 043 miles, spent 10 weeks away from home, and visited nine cities in five different countries – meeting an outstanding group of enthusiastic and dedicated child protection specialists from around the world.


SicKids is a new charity, launched in the UK in June 2015. Every child deserves the right to grow up safe from abuse, exploitation and trafficking. Every child should have every chance of good health, every chance of happiness and every chance of protection from harm.

SicKids will provide a mechanism through which funds can be raised and distributed to support children in the North West of England as well as Cambodia.

We’ll enable true partnership working between the professionals looking after children and young people in the North Manchester region and those professionals looking after a group of children in Cambodia, whose vulnerabilities, risks of exploitation and potential for abuse have striking similarities.

For further information, or to support the work of the charity, please see or e-mail


The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

Since 1965, over 5000 British citizens have been awarded Churchill Fellowships, from over 100,000 applicants, to travel overseas to study areas of topical and personal interest. The knowledge and innovative ideas they bring back are widely shared, for the benefit of their profession, their community, and, in lots of cases, the nation. For many people a Churchill Fellowship proves transformational, and they go on to achieve great things – effecting positive change within society.

To mark its half century, The Trust has awarded a record number of 150 Travelling Fellowships in 2015 – investing over £1.3m in British citizens. This year’s Fellows will travel to 58 countries between them, across six continents, where they will carry out a wide range of projects. The average length of a Fellowship is 6 weeks.

Many events have been held throughout the year to celebrate Sir Winston’s life and legacy (

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust contact details:

Telephone:   +44 (0)207 799 1660

















Photograph 2: The new Global Partnership to help vulnerable children in Cambodia will support out-reach clinics such as this one in the Jungle in South West Cambodia.


Photograph 3: The team at a medical clinic in South Cambodia being supported by the Global Partnership to help Cambodian children.


Photograph 4: The community living on railway line in Cambodia that was the inspiration for the name of Professor Rowland’s Churchill Fellowship report.

AGR One Malaysia

Photograph 5: Professor Andrew Rowland lecturing on Safeguarding Vulnerable Children


Photograph 6: Professor Andrew Rowland, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine