Charity helps to support projects

A children’s charity on Tyneside has given local community groups a welcome cash boost.

A children’s charity on Tyneside has given local community groups a welcome cash boost. Health Reporter JANE PICKEN finds out how their money is helping

FIVE community projects across the North East are celebrating after being handed a share of £4,000 from The Children’s Foundation’s regional small grants panel.

The charity, based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children in the North East.

And one of the ways it does this is through offering grants to community projects that help youngsters improve their health by tackling exercise and obesity, mental health, disability and safety.

One of the projects to be handed a £1,000 cash boost is the Places for Children nursery in Newcastle, which looks after children with special needs, including autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The grant will now allow them to create a relaxing sensory area in the nursery, which can ease anxiety or distress, and help increase their independence and skills through the use of interactive toys and equipment.

Claire Robson, acting nursery manager, said: “Without the grant from The Children's Foundation the sensory area would’ve not been able to go ahead.

“It allows the children to have ‘special time’, enhancing their development skills and experiences. It also encourages the children with disabilities to interact with the other children in the nursery.”

The Northumberland Toy Library in Ashington was awarded £1,000, further helping it to provide fun, therapeutic and educational toys for children in the area, as well as operating a toy loan scheme and family play sessions.

Ann Widderington, community development worker for the library, said: “This donation has enabled us to extend our service, employ a local person and reach more children and their families.

“Play is an important part of children’s development, both socially and emotionally. The play sessions also support parents, enabling them to learn techniques to carrying on learning through play at home.”

The Trimdon Grange Community Centre Youth Club in County Durham was granted £500 to continue running the club one night a week for children aged 8-13 years, including those with special needs.

The money will pay for staff wages, room hire and equipment to ensure the club can operate for the rest of the year.

Around £500 was also awarded to the YMCA North Tyneside, in North Shields, to allow the group to run a holiday playscheme during the school holidays.

Bruce Robertson, youth work manager for the YMCA, said: “The funding from The Children's Foundation was very welcome as, without it, we couldn’t have re-run the playscheme and extended the variety of activities on offer.

“Our first playscheme was extremely popular and we were very keen to offer the kids somewhere to come again in May, so we were obviously delighted to receive the money.”

Another £1,000 was granted to Development Direct in Morpeth, a charity which promotes global citizenship, helping schools in the North East link up with schools in Africa.

The charity’s chief executive, Barbara Gubbins, said: “I’m always delighted to award money to projects such as these and to see The Children's Foundation making a real difference to the lives of so many children in the North East.

“The region’s health is improving, but we do need to keep up the momentum, so it is imperative we continue to support projects which have a positive impact on local children.”

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Your child's group could share part of £5,000 funding

THE Children’s Foundation has another £5,000 in the pot to continue supporting projects which address five priority areas – smoking, exercise and obesity, mental health, disability and safety.

Avid supporters of the charity, Sanofi-Aventis, a pharmaceutical company based in The Research Centre in Alnwick, has contributed £2,500 to the pot.

The company is particularly keen to fund projects which focus on encouraging local children to increase their exercise levels, in order to help reduce obesity figures. The Children’s Foundation is calling for groups and individuals to come forward and send their applications in by the end of October.

If you would like further information, contact Kerry McCormack on (0191) 282 0891 or e-mail her at kerry.mccormack@nuth.nhs.uk

To find out more about The Children’s Foundation or to make a donation, call (0191) 282 0000, e-mail childrens.foundation@nuth.nhs.uk or visit www.thechildrensfoundation.co.uk

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