The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Laura Henry-Allain MBE Joins the Board

Long-term supporter of the Children's Media Foundation, Laura Henry-Allain explains why now is a good time to get involved.

I am hugely honoured to be asked to join the board of the Children’s Media Foundation (CMF). I’ve been a patron of CMF for a few years as well as contributing to some of their other activities. I’m keen to support and advise on the ongoing development and sustainability of CMF.

I’ve always worked in some shape or form with children and their families, starting my career as a nursery teacher and then lecturer and Ofsted inspector. For the last 20 years I’ve been a producer, educationalist, storyteller and consultant; I’ve had fantastic opportunities to travel the world to share my passion and knowledge.

I created the characters of the global award-winning, JoJo and Gran Gran, which is based on the wonderful relationship I had with my maternal grandmother. The series was developed and produced by BBC Studios Kids & Family, and I’m currently the associate producer. I’m also executive producer on a few shows that are currently in development and have worked with several brands and charities including Comic Relief, Hasbro, Mattel and Moonbug. Recently, I was privileged to work as series consultant on Milkshake’s new show Mixmups, created by Rebecca Atkinson.

My books, My Skin, Your Skin, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu, and My Family, Your Family, illustrated by Giovana Medeiros, enable children to talk about themselves, relatives, love and belonging. My new fiction book series Maya and Marley will be published in 2024.

My voluntary work includes mentoring several young people and supporting the Grenfell Memorial Quilt team, and I’m also a judge on the The Secret Story Draw which provides access into the industry to emerging illustrators from diverse backgrounds.

We can certainly say that children’s TV has dramatically changed in the years since I was a child, including when my own children were growing up. Even without robust research, we can see that diversity, inclusion and race is not where it should be; in front of or behind the camera. This is an area that I’m keen to focus on within CMF. We recently lost the impactful BFI Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF), from which my show Daddio & Co, received one of the last development grants before funding came to an end. We know as an industry how the YACF has made a difference on so many levels.

Every child needs to see themselves and their family on the screen and in the media. This has an impact on their own identity, self-esteem and self-worth. It is equally important for children to step into the worlds of other children so that they become aware of differences and similarities, including children who may be homeless, those affected by the cost of living crisis, those who live within the Gypsy, Roma and Travelling communities, or those who live with same sex/gender families. This creates a series of teachable moments, offering authentic portals into the lives of others and forms an important part of children’s lifelong learning on inclusion, equity, diversity, race and belonging.

I am committed to ensuring that the needs of children are understood not only by children’s media platforms, but also by politicians and policymakers. I’m looking forward to making a difference to children in the UK and beyond.

CMF Updates

One Response to “Laura Henry-Allain MBE Joins the Board”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)