Emily Aklan

Emily Aklan

Serenity Welfare
London

www.serenitywelfare.org

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In Conversation: Emily Aklan

Emily Aklan is the Founder and Chief Executive of Serenity Welfare, an organisation that offers comprehensive welfare services for children and young people.

Emily Aklan is the founder and chief executive of Serenity Welfare, an organisation that offers comprehensive welfare services for children and young people.

Career Overview

Emily Aklan is the founder and chief executive of Serenity Welfare, a uniquely integrated organisation that works with UK-wide local authorities, children’s charities, schools, alternative education provisions, youth Offending Services and other healthcare professionals, offering a fully comprehensive welfare service for children and young people - including those in care - 24-hours-a-day, seven days per week.

Emily founded Serenity Welfare in 2016 after being horrified to discover that children in care - some as young as 10-years-old - were being transported from care home to care home or picked up from police stations after absconding episodes in handcuffs and sometimes with their feet tied.

It was this experience of seeing the challenges within the care and justice systems - and the changes that need to be made - that led Emily to launch the new ‘Hope instead of Handcuffs’ campaign to end the handcuffing of children.

Early Life

Emily was born in Holloway, London, residing in Palmers Green with her family before settling in Enfield. At the age of 18, Emily embarked on a career as an estate agent. Discovering that she had a natural entrepreneurial streak, Emily quickly excelled in the industry and progressed to working for large UK housebuilders and boasted an enviable profile in the sector, becoming a director of the company she worked at by the time she was 31. In 2004, Emily made the decision to branch out on her own by launching her own business: a project-directing consultancy operating across the UK, Turkey, Italy and Dubai.

Serenity Welfare

Tragically, Emily experienced the care system herself when her sister died and Emily had to fight to secure custody of her two nieces. Out of concern for what might have happened to her nieces came the idea for Serenity Welfare, with Emily determined to stand up for extremely vulnerable young people in memory of her sister.

Serenity Welfare was born in 2016 out of Emily’s determination to find a new way of treating at-risk children with dignity and compassion. From the beginning, her focus was very much on the wellbeing of young people and showing them that they were valued members of society.

Serenity Welfare’s mission statement is to treat people how you would like to be treated and the organisation prides itself on providing safe, comfortable and secure transport services to ensure each child and young person feels a sense of self-worth in a relaxed environment. They have a 100 per cent success rate in ‘stress free’, compassionate and therapeutic journeys.

Serenity Welfare also offers 24/7 wrap around care, crisis intervention services, talks and presentations on gangs and county lines, and high-quality mentoring services so that vulnerable children receive the positive and consistent nurturing they need.

The organisation’s staff are fully trained in de-escalation and mentoring and have never used and vow to never use handcuffs to restrain children. One young person that Serenity Welfare transported even requested a court judge to place them into their care, which culminated in the opening of its first residential home.

Hope instead of Handcuffs

Emily was shocked to discover that vulnerable children and young people in the UK are still being handcuffed or restrained. Too often, vulnerable children - such as those in care or those being exploited by vicious county lines gangs - are treated as criminals rather than victims who require care and support to rebuild their lives.

Having proven through its own approach that such a hostile means of transporting children does not have to be the status quo and that all children should be treated with kindness and respect, Emily launched the ‘Hope instead of Handcuffs’ campaign to push for a change in the law around using physical restraints and handcuffs on children and young people within the care system.

The campaign’s core objectives include legislating to ban the handcuffing, restraining, or caging of children except when there is a considerable risk of the child harming themselves or others. The campaign also recommends that government allocates a specific minister to oversee support for the mentoring of vulnerable and at-risk children and young people so that they can reach their potential and lead safe, fulfilling lives.

Queen’s Honour Nomination and work through Covid-19

Tragically, Emily experienced the care system herself when her sister died and Emily had to fight to secure custody of her two nieces. Out of concern for what might have happened to her nieces came the idea for Serenity Welfare, with Emily determined to stand up for extremely vulnerable young people in memory of her sister.

Serenity Welfare was born in 2016 out of Emily’s determination to find a new way of treating at-risk children with dignity and compassion. From the beginning, her focus was very much on the wellbeing of young people and showing them that they were valued members of society.

Serenity Welfare’s mission statement is to treat people how you would like to be treated and the organisation prides itself on providing safe, comfortable and secure transport services to ensure each child and young person feels a sense of self-worth in a relaxed environment. They have a 100 per cent success rate in ‘stress free’, compassionate and therapeutic journeys.

Serenity Welfare also offers 24/7 wrap around care, crisis intervention services, talks and presentations on gangs and county lines, and high-quality mentoring services so that vulnerable children receive the positive and consistent nurturing they need.

The organisation’s staff are fully trained in de-escalation and mentoring and have never used and vow to never use handcuffs to restrain children. One young person that Serenity Welfare transported even requested a court judge to place them into their care, which culminated in the opening of its first residential home.

Listen to Emily Aklan's Leaders Council podcast.


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