Thursday, 24 September 2009

Great North Run

Huge Well Done and Big Thanks to the 30 people who took part in the Great North Run last Sunday and raised money for Children North East. The run goes past the end of the street where I live, as in previous years watching and cheering the river of 55,000 people as they go past is incredibly inspiring and I am full of admiration for anyone who can run that far (I am sure my knees would give out!). Behind the finishing line was the 'charity village' to receive and thank the runners. Children North East had only a small area but what we lacked in space we made up for in the friendly welcome everyone got, steaming cups of tea, chocolates (gifts from Thorntons) and fruit (donated by J R Holland).

The following day we had a really helpful and encouraging meeting with advisers from the Tyne and Wear Community Foundation about charitable trusts to approach for a capital grant towards the WEYES renovation. Next step is to submit applications but don't expect to hear anything until March.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Christmas is coming

Meeting of our PR and Fundraising Committee yesterday evening, not well attended but a good opportunity to look at all we are doing and planning to do. In particular getting the name of Children North East known by the general public in the region.

Our Christmas 'Giving Tree' campaign is coming up. The fundraising team have worked hard to give the campaign (and Children North East) a higher profile this year. Real Radio will be supporting the campaign which is great because that will mean regular mentions across the North East on a popular radio station. And Eldon Sqaure shopping centre have also agreed to support us - their 'Wishing Well' appeal by the Christmas Display will be in aid of Children North East and there will be a drop-off point for people who want to leave gifts for children. Greggs the bakers have kindly agreed to support the Giving Tree too by offering each of their 140 shops as collection points for presents and other gifts. We are hopeful some of the schools we know will sing a few carols for us in Eldon Square too.

Christmas is an especially hard time for families who don't have much spare cash. Everyone wants to give their children a good Christmas; if you don't you and your children feel very left out - a real slap in the face that you don't count. The gifts of presents are wonderful but in recent years we have found more and more parents asking us for help with food at Christmas time too.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Never heard of you

The biggest problem Children North East has is that the general public have never heard of us.

For most of the last century we were called 'The Poor Children's Homes Association' and everyone had heard of us. From 1932 we had a prominent Headquarters building in the middle of Newcastle with PCHA in huge letters on it - you could not miss it. Even today the older generation still remember the PCHA, some tell you about dropping off unwanted toys for the 'poor children' at it's door. But in the early 1970's that building was demolished to make way for the Eldon Square shopping precinct and in 1987 the name changed to 'Children North East'. Since then, apart from the centenary celebrations in 1991 and the odd splash since, not much attention has been paid to promoting the charity.

So before we can start raising money, first we have to make sure the general public have heard of us. Hardly a week goes by when we don't send a press release or a letter to the local papers but they are not all printed and often when they are it is in obscure parts of the paper. What we need are a well-written features about what the charity does, some of the problems facing the people we help and how we help them, particularly young people. Maybe some pieces about particular members of staff or volunteers as well. And not just the newspapers but in other ways too so people will have at least heard of us.