Charity’s ‘Thank You’ to Children in Need
When approximately 10 million people settle down tonight to watch Children in Need, the UK’s longest running television programme, few will be aware of how the evening’s donations will impact on Caudwell Children.
The BBC’s annual charity fundraising show, which sees many top singers, groups, actors and celebrities performing various activities, sketches and musical numbers, raised a staggering £46 million last year. This brings the total raised since its inception, in 1980, to nearly £900 million!
Thanks to the popularity of the programme, and its cuddly mascot Pudsey Bear, Children in Need has supported around 2,400 projects and changed the lives of 480,000 disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.
Caudwell Children is one of the lucky Charites that has benefited enormously from the show and we would like to publicly thank all those involved in the programme for helping us to support disabled children in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
A number of grants from Children in Need has allowed the charity to develop our Short Break activity days in these areas. We created the programme to allow disabled children to access fun, inspirational and sometimes challenging leisure activities.
Short Breaks build life skills and promote independence, leaving a lasting legacy of disabled children who make a successful transition into adulthood.
The sessions focus on a number of themes such as sport, health, money, culture and citizenship. They allow participants to experience activities such as art and design, photography, cookery, circus skills, drama, animation and mask making.
Crucially, support from Children in Need has also funded an Activity Worker to lead our three year Short Break programme.
With a worrying 78% of disabled children having no access to activities outside the home our Short Break programme is vital in helping disabled children to develop self-esteem and confidence, make new friends and reach their full potential.
Janet’s granddaughter, nine-year-old Mersadeez, has been diagnosed with epilepsy, global development delay, dyspraxia and hypermobility. She attended one of our Awesome Autumnal Arts and Crafts sessions in South Staffordshire, during the October half-term.
This was the first time Mersadeez had attended any community activity on her own as usually a parent or carer has to accompany her.
She interacted extremely well with the other children and took part in all the activities with a great deal of enthusiasm. Amongst other things she made a giant ghost out of paper chains, a pumpkin volcano and decorated cakes and biscuits.
“I have never been as grateful as I was on that day,” said Janet. “For her to have the independence of going and staying and being accepted was brilliant.
“She was so excited after that day. She’s not a watcher, she’s a doer and it frustrates her if she ‘Can’t’. With Caudwell Children she did. She had a lovely day.”
14-year-old Joshua and his sister Bethany, aged eight, have attended many Short Break activity days over the past 12 months and have enjoyed a variety of activities including drama, golf and a forensic science ‘Who Done It’ workshop.
Joshua’s mum, Emma, says her son was struggling at school before they discovered Caudwell Children’s Short Break programme. As she explained: “He was finding it difficult to remember the names of teachers, he couldn’t remember all the lessons that he had to attend, and the rules in the classroom were confusing him.
“He had to cope with lots of noise and bright lights and he was even excluded for not coping in a busy school, but this was down to his disability. This had a massive impact on Joshua’s confidence and self-esteem.”
However, after regularly attending our Short Breaks programme all this changed. Emma said: “At first he was anxious about attending the drama group but after a few sessions he started to enjoy it and he actually smiled for the first time in months.
“The activity worker, Diane, took the time to get to know Josh and she understood how he struggled. She didn’t judge him, she helped him, she mad e him laugh and if he became grumpy she knew how to cheer him up.
“His confidence increased, he could be himself in the group, and he felt happy and safe. Watching all the children working together, and encouraging each other, is so empowering and to see the children’s confidence soar is amazing.”
So when the show draws to a close at 2:00am tomorrow morning we’ll be hoping that some of the money donated, by the many thousands of kind hearted viewers, will once again make its way to Caudwell Children, enabling us to support even more disabled children across the region.
You can support Caudwell Children by donating here.