The Big Give is now OPEN: Donate to us through The Big Give Christmas Challenge by midday on 8 December and see your donation DOUBLED!

A lot of people are giving themselves a really hard time right now:
“Why am I not coping better?”
“I have a lot to be grateful for, I shouldn’t be feeling low”
“I should be doing something productive”
“People have it much worse than me”

Right now you are experiencing a change in life that came suddenly and unexpectedly. Like all change this brings loss – loss of connection, freedom and even safety- the list goes on.

We are grieving for what we have lost.

Even if there are positive changes, we should not ignore the losses which have brought pain and struggle. Can you imagine saying any of the things above to someone who was grieving the loss of a loved one? Then why say it to yourself?

Even with the knowledge that this will pass eventually, it can be exhausting.

“And yet somehow, you marvellous human being, you have found a way to carry on through all of it.”

 

So keep going whatever way you can.

Instead of telling yourself off for not being able to meet unrealistic goals, praise yourself for how much you have adapted too. Give your self breaks, rest and do what you need to to feel connected to others.

DO NOT belittle yourself.

You are doing an incredible job and we ALL need kindness right now.

Whilst Christmas is a time of celebration for so many, for a number of our beneficiaries it can be a very difficult time of year, which will be amplified even further this year due to ​the hugely detrimental impact Covid is having on those in need in the region.

New for 2020​, Children North East is applying to take part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign, to hopefully raise vital funds for our Hope for Christmas appeal.

As part of our application, we need businesses to make a promise of funding, called ‘Pledges’, which will be used as match funds to double online donations made to our charity during the campaign.  Your commitment of funding might also help us to secure additional match funds via a Champion (sourced by the Big Give).

We are aiming to raise a total of £1,000 in pledges to take part in the Christmas Challenge.  Would you consider making a pledge to help us reach our target?

If you would be willing to make a pledge to us, you can do so by clicking the pledge button below by the deadline of 5pm, Friday 4 September.

Make your pledge!

If you would be interested in getting involved in our Christmas Appeal in other ways outside of the Big Give, we’d love to discuss this with you.  We have a number of ideas we’ll be sharing as we get closer to the festive season and would love your involvement in whichever way would work best for you.

May the Force be with you!


You’ve helped us hand out an amazing ONE THOUSAND activity packs to children around our region to keep them entertained during lockdown and beyond.

And to help us celebrate such an out of this world achievement, a squad of Star Wars costumers – including Darth Vader, Kylo Ren and a couple of Stormtroopers popped into Children North East HQ.

One of our volunteers, Julia Ruane, who’s been helping put the packs together even got to play an impromptu game of frisbee with Darth Vader (aka Mark Poulsen from the North East Legion, the Star Wars fundraisers).

Frisbees are amongst the thousands of donations that have flooded in for children along with stationery, books, felt tips and other craft materials that have gone into the packs that are being handed out to families throughout the North East.

Culture Bridge North East and Arts Council England are supporting the project as are other funding bodies, businesses, community groups and individuals.

Luke Bramhall, Schools Research and Delivery Manager for Children North East, said:

“We are over the moon with the incredible donations and support we have had in ensuring that families who are struggling the most with the impact of both the lockdown and financial insecurity can get to enjoy the activities and opportunities that these resource packs present.

We are delighted to have distributed a thousand packs, but are not wanting to stop there. With continued support we target hitting 5,000 packs, but to make that a reality please do get in touch to contribute stationery, craft kits or games.”

 

Anyone wishing to help can email Luke at luke.bramhall@children-ne.org.uk

We’re so grateful to everyone who joined in with our Emmerdale Quiz over Zoom on Sunday night. The hostess with the mostest, North East actress, Charlie Hardwick said she’d really enjoyed the experience.

“It was a lot of fun and quizmaster, Stuart, came up with some really good questions.”

 

Said Charlie, who played the character Val Pollard in the popular ITV soap.


Catriona Taylor, Head of Fundraising and Communications for Children North East, took part in the charity quiz along with members of her family. She said:

“We’re so grateful to Charlie, and to Stuart at Sounds Right Entertainment for putting together such a fantastic quiz full of Emmerdale trivia! With the show soon approaching its fiftieth anniversary, there was a super range of questions testing our knowledge on characters and story lines from over the years including the first family to run Emmerdale Farm, the plane crash that hit the village, recent marriages from the show, and lots more! And it was lovely to hear more about Charlie’s time playing the hugely popular character Val too.”

 

If you weren’t able to join the quiz on the night, it’s not too late to watch and answer questions in your own time from the comfort of your own home!

Simply follow the link here

There has been a lot of discussion lately about ‘getting back to normal’, or ‘the new normal’.  As my period of furlough comes to an end and my return to work approaches, I’ve been thinking about what normality looked like for many families before the emergence of Covid-19 and more importantly whether or not returning to ‘normal’ is something that we should be striving for.  I really do think it’s time to consider what we want our society to look like, and in some respects Covid-19 has provided us with this opportunity.

I guess the first thing to think about is: what does normal mean?  What was life like for children and families in the UK before lockdown began?  What was their ‘normal’?  For some, it will have been a time of freedom, of opportunity and of choice; a time of regular visits to family and friends, days out, and trips to the shops.  There will be a yearning to return to this way of life.

“However, for too many it is clear that even before the emergence of Covid-19 life was not like this at all.  Statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions show that 4.2 million children in the UK are currently growing up in poverty, a situation which can only have been worsened by the economic impact of Covid-19.”

 

Furthermore, three million children in the UK were identified as being at risk of holiday hunger – not having enough to eat during the school holidays – and 700,000 children do not have proper internet access.  For these families ‘normal’ is the perpetual, daily choice between whether to feed their children or have the heating on when it is cold outside.  For these families, there is no yearning to return to some blissful, pre-Covid way of life.  There is no wistful nostalgia about better times, only a potential return to the treading of water that for too many families comprises day-to-day life in the UK.

As we look at what we might wish to avoid returning to, we should also consider which aspects of lockdown life we would like to retain.  Within education policy there have been steps in the right direction that must continue and that must be protected.

 

“For the first time there has been a Government led effort to ensure that all children have had enough to eat during the Easter and May school holidays, and we cannot return to a time where this is not seen as a priority.”

 

We have also seen the Government agreeing to provide laptops for some vulnerable students to access online learning, acknowledging the digital divide that is a barrier for many children and young people.  Although there is a lot more work to be done, these small steps in the right direction must not be reversed.  We cannot and should not want to return to a time of parents missing meals in order to feed their children and pupils missing out on learning opportunities and socialisation with friends because of a lack of internet access.  The welfare of ‘disadvantaged children’ has been central to discussions in regard to wider school opening, and we need to ensure that the needs and welfare of these children remain at the heart of all policy making as we return to our usual way of life.

As a society that has shown extra care and compassion for each other at this difficult time, we must ensure this continues as we move to the ‘new normal’.  At a time of phenomenally rapid invention and change, and with businesses, organisations and schools adapting constantly to new guidance, we have to keep asking ourselves the key question:

“What do we want to leave behind in the pre-Covid society, and what do we want to keep and take forward with us to ensure that all of our children grow up to be healthy and happy?  The moment we stop asking that question is the moment we start to go back to ‘normal’ – a normal that for too many families and children is defined by hardship, hunger and heartbreaking poverty.”

Children North East has joined more than 150 charities, teachers and frontline services to issue a joint statement calling on the Government to prioritise this generation of children alongside health and the economy in their Coronavirus recovery plans.

The statement, ahead of this week’s Prime Minister’s speech and the Chancellor’s mini budget in July, underlines that today’s children and young people are facing unprecedented threats to their childhoods and futures. As well as the disruption to their schooling, living standards and family lives caused by the crisis, they have been growing up at a time where services protecting children are at breaking point, school budgets are under pressure and job losses are soaring.

With family budgets under enormous pressure, organisations including Action for Children, Barnardo’s, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC, The Children’s Society, Children North East and many others, have joined forces to urge the Government to prioritise and protect vulnerable children and young people.

As well as giving financial support to shore up family finances, the Prime Minister is being called upon to protect the most vulnerable children and young people, including those with disabilities, mental health difficulties, children who have suffered abuse and those from minority communities.

Those working with children will be essential in getting the country back on its feet and investment in this must play a central part in the Chancellor’s plans, including funding for local authority children’s services that step in early to help children before families reach breaking point as well as mental health and wellbeing support for children returning to school.

The statement and the full list of 152 organisations supporting is available here: www.ncb.org.uk/childrenattheheartofrecovery.