Exeter projects celebrate £38,000 in new grants from BBC Children in Need

BBC Children in Need has awarded a total of £38,795 in new funding to two local groups working with disadvantaged children and young people in Exeter.

This is the third time that BBC Children in Need has awarded new funding to projects across the UK this year, with further funding to be allocated throughout 2017.

This latest boost of funding, from the charity’s Small Grants programme, brings the total currently invested in the area to more than £230,000.

Recipients of funding include the Youth Arts and Health Trust, which has been awarded £28,800 to provide counselling services for children and young people with anxiety and depression.

The three-year grant will help fund freelance arts therapists, staff and venue hire in order to facilitate arts therapy sessions with a view to reduce feelings of distress in participating children, whilst increasing their feelings of self-worth.

Sessions are conducted either one to one or in a group setting – depending on the needs of each young person - with qualified, state-registered arts therapists, which encourages young people to feel safe and enables them to connect with others, reducing any feelings of isolation.

Using materials of their choice – such as paints, clay, sand play or drama – children will have the opportunity to express themselves creatively, as well as talk about their difficulties and aspirations, offering an alternative for those who might find it difficult to communicate their feelings verbally.

The project, which has grown from a successful pilot, developed as a response to local children and families who needed flexible access to counselling services outside of school hours.

Speaking of the award, Laura Blatherwick, Chair of Trustees and Arts Therapist at the project said: “Thanks to this grant from BBC Children in Need, we can increase our opening hours and offer a greater range of appointment times in order to expand our therapy services and help even more young people!”

Elsewhere, the University of Exeter Students' Guild received a one-year grant of £9,995 to continue providing summer holiday activities for local young carers.

A similar grant awarded in prior years has allowed the group to establish consistent offerings for young carers to feel relaxed and enjoy quality time with peers who have responsibilities as carers; these include a visit to an out-of-bounds activities centre, bowling, swimming and crafts.

In addition, young people can take part in a respite residential week at the university where they can meet with students from the university, helping to raise the aspirations of young carers.

Speaking of the grant, Eleanor Wood, one of the project leaders at University of Exeter Students’ Guild, said: “These two weeks funded are one of the few opportunities the children get to truly be children again, have fun and not worry about their day-to-day caring responsibilities at home. It is a chance to simply relax, which is essential in protecting and promoting their positive emotional wellbeing. Huge thanks to BBC Children in Need for this award and supporting our work!”

Speaking of the grant, Hannah Parry, a second project leader at University of Exeter Students’ Guild, said: “We just want to give them the best two weeks possible and now, thanks to BBC Children in Need, we can.”

Speaking of the new grants, Juliet Williams, BBC Children in Need Regional Officer of the South and West said: “We are delighted to award Youth Arts and Health Trust and University of Exeter Students' Guild for their work with children and young people in Devon. Our funding is already making a difference locally by supporting opportunities that help children and young people overcome a number of challenges to their happiness, safety and security. We look forward to seeing this latest grant in action over the coming weeks, and are keen to hear from other projects benefiting vulnerable young lives in the area.”

BBC Children in Need's Chief Executive, Simon Antrobus added: “At BBC Children in Need the grants that we award, no matter how big or small, support some of the most disadvantaged children and young people in communities across the UK. Our grants work with projects that make a positive difference and transform young lives, which would be impossible without generous donations from the UK public.”

BBC Children in Need awards grants at seven points during the year and funds two types of grants, both of which are open to new or existing applicants. A Main Grants Programme is for grants over £10,000 per year to support projects for up to three years. Meanwhile, a Small Grants Programme includes grants up to and including £10,000, and has been refreshed to support projects for up to three years. Projects working with children and young people facing any kind of disadvantage can find out more on how to apply for funding at bbc.co.uk/pudsey/grants.

BBC Children in Need relies on the support and creativity of thousands of fundraisers and supporters across the UK who donate their time, money and energy to help raise millions for the charity. Whether raised by baking cakes, going on rambles, putting on quizzes or taking part in dress up days, all the money raised helps make a difference.