Pictured (L-R): Leigh Elliott, Deputy CEO of Children North East and Jamie Ollivere, Director of RTC North
A CHARITY which has been supporting North East children since the 1890s will be launching a range of new projects this year.
North East charity of the year, Children North East (CNE) is looking to roll out a range of new services including support for children with low self-esteem, early learning development and those affected by separation and divorce.
At the same time, the new programmes will significantly increase the number of children the Newcastle-headquartered charity is able to reach every year.
CNE was established in 1891 and aims to help the estimated one in four North East children living below the poverty line. In the last 12 months, it has supported over 11,500 young people in schools and local communities.
Following its expansion, which includes the launch of new schemes to improve attainment and attendance at school and child safety, this figure is likely to hit 15,000 in 2017.
Faced with dwindling public sector grant funding in recent years, the charity is working with business support company RTC North to develop a forward plan and marketing strategy for the new programmes. RTC’s services are being supported by a grant from the Big Potential project, a Big Lottery Fund-backed scheme administered by the Social Investment Business, which supports voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.
Since 2010, the proportion of CNE’s budget made up of core grant funding has reduced from 74 to 40 per cent as the charity has focused on income diversification in the wake of public sector cuts. With further cuts to come, RTC North was enlisted to help the charity plan and market these new income-generating offerings.
RTC director Jamie Ollivere said: “Many charities are going through major changes to the way they are funded and as a result are trying to become more commercial in their approach.
“Charities are like any other business. They have personnel issues, management information systems, day to day operational challenges as well as marketing and financial targets. We are working with Children North East to focus on their market potential and find routes to market with a number of new services. In these uncertain times, the charity has managed to strengthen its position while it continues to carry out its vital work across the region.”
Leigh Elliott, Deputy CEO of Children North East, said: “The landscape for charities has changed dramatically in recent years. Our new programmes will enable us to adapt accordingly while also increasing our impact on the lives of young people and families in the region. Crucially they will give us the stability we need to continue tackling the shamefully disproportionate amount of North East children living in poverty."
As a result of its work with RTC, the charity will expand its BU (Be Yourself)project; an emotional wellbeing programme that helps young people aged eight to 25 develop confidence, self-esteem and social skills.
They will also expand their contact centre in which children can meet their non-resident parents and extended family members in a safe, neutral environment. The centres will promote healthy relationships between all involved.
Other schemes include Whoops!, for parents and carers who want to increase their awareness of child safety and reduce the risk of accidents in their home and local community.
The charity will also launch a course for early years’ professionals based on the ‘Parent Infant Partnership (PIP)’ approach, building strong bonds between parents and babies.
As well as CNE, RTC North has worked closely with a number of other North East charities in recent years, including the anti-child poverty group, Tyne Gateway Trust. For more information visit www.rtcnorth.co.uk.
Big Potential is a Big Lottery Fund grant programme that will deliver approximately £20m of grant funding over three years to eligible VCSE organisations with the aim of improving their sustainability, capacity and scale in order that they may deliver greater social impact.
The programme has two routes; Breakthrough and Advanced. Big Potential Breakthrough helps VCSE organisations work out how social investment might work for them. Big Potential Advanced helps VCSE organisations with strong proposals apply for investment or challenge for contracts.
Big Potential is administered by Social Investment Business for the Big Lottery Fund, in partnership with Locality, Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK, and the University of Northampton.