Children North East is the region’s oldest children’s charity - founded in 1891 as the Poor Children’s Holiday Association.
Our purpose then was to provide seaside trips for the poverty stricken children of Newcastle and Gateshead to the fresh clean air of the seaside. We then increased our work to provide longer stay respite breaks in the countryside, training schools for boys and girls, night-shelters, a sanatorium for consumptive children and a number of children’s homes for children who could no longer live at home with their families.
Times have changed and over the years so has the work that we do but our aims and objectives are just the same – to ensure that children, young people and families in the North East are helped through difficult times in their lives and are enabled to go forward and reach their full potential.
Today Children North East runs community based projects in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham, providing specific services according to the needs of local communities.
Volunteers are a vital part of our service provision in most areas of our work and we are always pleased to hear from people who are interested in supporting children, young people and families in need.
1. Youth Link
Youth Link peer-mentor volunteers are aged 18 to 25 and provide one to one support for young people, aged 13 to 19, within their local community. The young people are referred for varying reasons and the support will involve working towards small, achievable goals, in order to help their matched young person to get back on track within certain aspects of their lives. Examples of support vary from taking part in activities in order to meet new friends, to build confidence and to get fit, through to meeting in a café to have time to talk about their problems.
Volunteers participate in initial peer-mentor training which is accredited locally through the Open College Network at level two and receive expenses for travel and participation in all activities.
2. Help with our annual big events:
a. Sandcastle Challenge (early July) a competition for teams of children in partnership with local businesses to build sandcastle on South Shields beach. Involves about 2,000 primary school and special school children. It takes a lot of organising but is also great fun!
b. ‘Giving Tree Appeal’ during December – we receive approximately donations of approximately 6,000 Christmas presents which have to be collected, sorted and disseminated to children, young people and families in need in time for Christmas. We need as much help as we can get!
3. Fundraise for us for example:
• Sign up for one of our fundraising challenges such as Zip-Wire from the Tyne Bridge or run the Great North Run; then get sponsored and raise money for Children North East.
• Look out on our website for other events like Comedy nights or Gigs and come along to support us.
• Distribute and collect Children North East collecting boxes.
• Or why not organise your own fund-raising activity in aid of Children North East?
The satisfaction of knowing you are making a valuable contribution to Children North East and our work with disadvantaged children, young people and families in our region.
Youth Link volunteers receive initial peer-mentor training, which is accredited locally through the Open College Network at level 2, receive expenses for travel and participation in all activities and ongoing support and training from their designated Co-ordinator. In addition all volunteers gain valuable experience for the C.V., which may assist them in achieving their own personal goals. Examples of previous good news stories include volunteer progression into paid work within Children North East and external agencies and achievement of Level 3 accreditation in Youth Work.
The opportunity to be involved in other Children North East activities, for example our annual 'Bigger Picture' conference for staff and trustees; celebrations to thank our volunteers; our annual 'Sandcastle Challenge' for school children; our Christmas 'Giving Tree' appeal; our annual Sandcastle Charity Ball.