2012 has been a strange year; every month brought a mixture of good and bad news. At the same time the cost of living has risen for everyone with many families facing severe financial hardship. Nevertheless through all the uncertainty Children North East staff continued to work with care and compassion for children, young people and parents who are in need.
During the year we started a
new service with 3 Rivers Housing for children and their mothers in Durham
women's refuge; and set up Newcastle Youth Link in a consortium with Streetwise
and Barnardos. In Gateshead we provided the ‘System Navigator’
service as part of the SEN and disabled children pathfinder pilot.
Our Father's Plus service secured commissions
in South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham for Family and Community
Learning as well as delivering to a Newcastle school cluster and a promising new
training development for workers – ‘Men as Protective Factors in
In June we celebrated our
fabulous volunteers at a glittering event attended by dozens of volunteer young
people who received awards from People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judy
McCourt. Youth Link coordinators organised a residential for volunteers in the
The Sandcastle Challenge went
ahead in July despite floods the previous day. A few schools were not able to
get there, but the event went off as brilliantly as ever. Our fundraising events - the Sandcastle Ball,
Golf Day and Great North Run were once again very successful. In September our
admin staff organised a sponsored walk along the river from Newcastle to Tynemouth
which might become an annual event.
accommodation moved from Hill Court to brand new Cherry Tree View, named by the
children. The service had a fine summer, not only a Jubilee Party but also mini
Olympics. The whole organisation gave generously to our mini 'food bank' to
make sure the children had breakfasts and lunches through the school summer
In October we organised
elections to Newcastle Youth Council and a residential for the new youth
councillors in the autumn half term holiday. The Youth Council is organising a
young people’s summit in January to tell Newcastle City Council how the proposed
cuts will hurt children and young people.
Ripples from the child poverty
conference at the end of 2011 reverberated through the year. Sharon Hodgson MP
for Washington kept her promise to organise a Parliamentary reception for the
young people who devised and performed 'Hope's Diary' at the conference. Their
performance was seen by Ed Balls, Lord Laming and 50 other MPs and Peers in the
Houses of Parliament. Children North East got great coverage on Tyne Tees TV news
of the trip and the young people had an experience they will never forget.
We have obtained small grants
to develop and pilot ‘poverty proofing’ self assessment for
schools; training about child poverty for teachers and recently for community
development in Newcastle based on the photographs the young people took.
Looking ahead very recently
Newcastle have given us a 2 year grant to increase adult volunteer
opportunities to build on accreditation of the volunteer training programme
this year; and local GPs will be running a surgery for young people at WEYES as