It’s December and most people are looking forward to Christmas in anticipation of fun, presents and feasting. At Children North East we are launching our annual ‘Giving Tree Appeal’ asking for donations of toys, clothes, gifts, food and treats for less fortunate children and young people living in our region. Last year, the generous people of the North East donated over 8,000 items which we distributed in time to make a happier Christmas for so many children in need.
Imagine the children of homeless families whose Christmas wish is simply to move back to their old neighbourhood, school and friends; or the children living in a women’s refuge, torn between their desire to see Dad but also to protect Mum from Dad; children whose Christmas will be like every other day, looking after a parent sick with depression; and children whose Christmas wish will be for Mum or Dad to be able to find a job and stop arguing about money. Children North East helps children in families like these all year round.
Every December we hold a Christmas Fair at our family centre in one of the poorest parts of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It’s one of the many ways in which players of People’s Postcode Lottery really help Children North East give disadvantaged children, young people and families a bit of hope. The families living here don’t take their children into town to visit Santa’s Grotto because it’s too expensive so we have our own Santa in a homemade snowy grotto with party games, Christmas food and fun.
Since 2007, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have funded Children North East with an incredible £521,383 which has enabled us to lift the hopes of thousands of children and young people. The support is essential for our mission to give disadvantaged children and young people a better chance in life. So thank you, every one of you! All at Children North East and the families we support wish you a very happy Christmas.
This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from Jeremy Cripps, Chief Executive of Children North East, a fantastic charity that gives disadvantaged young people opportunities that enrich their lives.
As December thoughts turn to festive holidays, family gatherings and special events, at CHILDREN 1ST we are never more conscious of the need for our work. We work tirelessly to ensure vulnerable children are given every chance of a happy, healthy, safe and secure childhood and offer our services in every corner of Scotland.
Winter brings extra pressures for vulnerable children and families. This time of year is particularly difficult for young people who cannot be with their own families or those that are struggling with their own problems.
Projects such as our Chill Out Zone (COZ) in West Lothian provide consistent support to young people who may be struggling with financial problems, health issues or something as basic as the need for a warm place to stay and food to eat. Our committed staff and volunteers are an invaluable source of information, advice and comfort for young people who are experiencing difficulty in finding their feet for reasons ranging from poverty to the impact of parental drug and alcohol misuse. Sometimes children just need a space in which they are allowed to be a child, even for a short time, and, thanks to the support of People’s Postcode Lottery, we can provide that.
Throughout the year, CHILDREN 1ST benefits from the fantastic generosity of players of People’s Postcode Lottery and the funds which they raise for our work. Since their inaugural lottery in 2008, players of the charity lottery have raised £2,424,914 for CHILDREN 1ST. Funds raised enable us to continue to help Scotland’s children thrive. Our Highland Abuse Recovery Serivce in the Black Isles, for example, works to support children who have been asexually abused or have experienced other traumatic events. The 4ward Steps project in North Ayrshire supports expectant mothers affected by substance abuse and helps them to prepare for and nurture their babies.
Today we work under the name of CHILDREN 1ST but we began life as the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. In 2014, we enter our 130th anniversary year and are delighted to mark the progress we have made in protecting Scotland’s children and young people by continuing to see, hear, speak and act on their behalf. We believe that it is everybody’s responsibility to protect children – just as we have done since 1884. The support that CHILDREN 1ST receive, including that from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, our volunteers and, of course, our staff allows us to work towards a future for Scotland’s children to thrive in, one in which individuals and communities work together to help to protect vulnerable children and young people.
This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from Anne Houston, Chief Executive of CHILDREN 1ST. This fantastic charity takes action to secure a brighter future for Scotland’s vulnerable children and families.
For the past eight weeks I’ve been on this ENABLE Scotland Employability Programme at Hazeldene Horticulture. It has been a great opportunity to see this business start from the ground up and I am grateful to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for giving ENABLE Scotland the funds needed to provide this opportunity for me and all the other trainees on this course.
I didn’t know everyone in the group but as the weeks have passed we have gotten to know each other. When I started, Hazeldene was no more than a building surrounded by lots of grass. Now we have built three polytunnels for growing plants that we’ll sell in the future. We laid down a mono-block path around most of the site. We’ve prepared potting soil which includes compost, sand and worm cast, made potted plants ready for sale and learnt how to breed earthworms.
This course has really taught us the value of teamwork in the workplace. The staff are among the best that I have had the pleasure to work with because you can have a laugh and a joke with them. There is always a smile present at Hazeldene though it’s not to be mistaken for a work place where they let trainees sit around and joke all day and get no work done! The management here are lenient but hold their own when trainees get disruptive.
Hazeldene Horticulture is a fun place to learn! Thank you.
This is part of a series of guest blogs written by charities and good causes supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Today’s guest blog comes from Ian Robson, a participant on the ENABLE Scotland Employability Programme at Hazeldene Horticulture, a project that aims to produce life transforming opportunities for people with learning disabilities.