Children North East works with disadvantaged children and young people throughout the North East, offering them opportunities to enrich their lives and improve their individual situations. With approximately 132,000 children in this region currently living below the poverty line, the fantastic work of this charity is more important than ever before. Children North East aims to bring these startling statistics to public attention and to reduce the unnecessary suffering experienced by so many children.
With support from players of People's Postcode Lottery, the charity recently held its annual Sandcastle Challenge. This was an opportunity for local school children, from Berwick to Durham, to leave their desks for a day and work together to build innovative sand structures. Nearly 2,000 children participated in the event which took place on Sandhaven beach in South Shields. Supported by many local businesses, the event helped to raise both the profile of Children North East itself and vital funds.
Jeremy Cripps, Chief Executive of Children North East, was on hand to witness the excitement and promote the aims of this fantastic charity. "We've been here for over 120 years helping disadvantaged children, young people and their families to have a better start in life," said Jeremy. "With the Sandcastle Challenge what we're doing is remembering how the organisation started 120 years ago, getting children out of the smog of the inner city Newcastle out to the fresh air and sunshine for health reasons. It reminds us of that. There's an awful lot of children in this region who never come to the seaside. This gives them a reason to do that."
Before the event, every school was teamed up with a construction industry professional who worked with the children to create a unique and striking design. With the theme of this year's Challenge being 'The Lindisfarne Gospels', each creation had to embody an aspect of life around 715 AD when this precious book was produced. Throughout the process of planning their structures, the schoolchildren learned more about this world-famous work of art and the history of their local area. Armed with buckets and spades, they were more than ready to take on their competitors and bring their designs to life on the day of the competition.
Iain Hush, Challenge Supervisor at the Challenge, commented on the cooperation and communication of those who participated in the event. "They've been working in class, refining the ideas and coming up lots of little things to add on to their designs when they've finished. What's great is that they get involved, it's all about team work. You've got people going down to the beach to carry water, you've got people using the trowels, people patting the sand. They're all working as a team so it's absolutely fantastic."
After an hour of frantic building, the schoolchildren put down their spades and relaxed in the sunshine while the judges inspected the 4m x 4m constructions. Tim Healy, famous actor and ambassador of Children North East, had the honour of helping to select the winning teams. He was keen to praise the high standard of building and point out that the children had all gone above and beyond the brief.
Tim also took the time to thank players of People's Postcode Lottery for their continued support of events like this. "The Postcode Lottery has been fantastic for this charity, giving over £400,000. Without you, none of this would be possible."
Funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery helps Children North East continue their amazing work protecting children from lives of poverty, abuse and crime. Thank you! The financial support of People's Postcode Lottery players makes us the world's 3rd largest charity donor.