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A host of Scottish celebrities – including Annie Lennox, Lorraine Kelly, Carol Smilie, Sam Torrence, Michelle Mone, and Lee McConnell – have pledged their support for a new campaign to raise awareness of Scotland’s 9000 children who run away from home every year.

Aberlour Child Care Trust, Scotland’s largest children’s charity, has launched its Home Sweet Home campaign to help support young runaways, many who have experienced abuse or neglect at home and see running away as their only option.

“To me, a home should be a haven,” said Lennox. “Home Sweet Home means a place that is uniquely special to you and the people you share your life with. This campaign highlights the worrying problem of young runaways in Scotland. With our support, Aberlour Child Care Trust can continue to help these youngsters who may be exposed to danger during life on the streets. My grandparents lived a few miles beyond the village of Aberlour and I have very special childhood memories of spending time there. Knowing that a happy childhood isn’t an experience that we all share, it’s vital that we recognise this issue and give others the chance to live in a home where they feel totally loved, safe and secure.”

The Home Sweet Home campaign continues Aberlour’s drive to raise £500,000 (US$1 million) to help support its runaways. More funds are urgently needed to continue to provide vital services and potentially extend them further, ideally by setting up other refuges. Donations can be made through the Aberlour website.

The campaign isn’t the only charity initiative 53-year-old Lennox is currently involved in. The singer – who recently underwent surgery on her back – will also attend the 4th Global Partners Forum (GPF) on Children affected by HIV and AIDS, to be held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, on October 6 and 7.

Co-hosted by Irish Aid and UNICEF, the forum will bring together leaders in Government, civil society and UN agencies to review global progress, set priorities, and make commitments for children affected by HIV and AIDS. It will also be attended by the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, as well as Ann Veneman, CEO of UNICEF; Jimmy Kolker, Chief of the HIV and AIDS programme at UNICEF; and the first Lady of Honduras.

More information about the forum can be found at the Irish Aid website.

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