It has been a year of highs and lows all around the world and that is no exception for the Third Sector or for Little Lives UK.
The cost-of-living crisis, war in Ukraine, political instability, an energy crisis and multiple changes to the UK’s Prime Ministers has increased the need for charity work in a lot of walks of life in the UK and has increased the need for children’s charities and community spirit.
Though it has been a tough year for so many we are proud to say that we have helped more children around the UK this year then we have in any other year of our existence.
Throughout the year we have given donations and funding through our four campaigns to support children around the UK. They are our Someone To Talk To campaign, Technology Programme, Children’s Community Support and Sports Teams Sponsorship.
Below are a just few examples from each campaign that we wanted to let you know about.
Someone To Talk To
Our mental health campaign for children and young people provides those who are in need of professional counselling and someone to talk to impartially, the access and opportunities that they be missing out on because of the high cost of private counselling or long waiting lists to be seen by a professional.
Since the start of Little Lives UK, we have given 353 children the access to free mental health sessions so far.
In the last couple of months, we have partnered with ReWellness. They are a counselling service based in Poole, Dorset who are providing children of the area access mental health sessions and counselling. The children and young people they support visit them with a wide range of mental health concerns from ADHD and PTSD to Autism. With our support we are ensuring that at least eight children a month are receiving the mental health support they need.
This year we have also supported Teens in Crisis+, Dorset Mind and Cells Project with providing mental health sessions to children who are in need around the UK.
We have given out hundreds of devices since we started and this is year is no exception. The technology is given to us by members of the public with our free unwanted electrics collection in London and we then re-donate these to children who need them.
This year we have given Herons Dale Primary School nine Oculus Quest VR Headsets to use in their immersive sensory sessions. Herons Dale Primary School is a special education school in Sussex who educate children who sever learning difficulties.
The headsets will also be used in other lessons that can be improved and more engaging by virtually transporting the children to other parts of the world without having to leave their classrooms.
Along with the many other devices we have donated this year, we have also given numerous mobile phones to Liverpool Council Children’s Services for the children they are supporting, laptops and phones to Newham Children’s Services for children they are supporting with their schoolwork and mobile phones to the Manchester Paediatrics’ Unit so that children who are being medially supported there can use their new technology to constantly read the glucose levels in their blood, ending the need for carrying out a finger prick and blood testing every day.
Children’s Community Support
Each month we give a maximum of £2,200 to around eight organisations around the UK who benefit the lives of children by running free activities for children and young people.
Since the start of the year, we have given funding to over 80 separate organisations in the UK. Among them include giving a donation to Wild and Free Therapy to give surf therapy sessions to children in the Bournemouth area who in need of mental health support and new experiences to help with their mental health, concentration and educational support.
We have also given two separate donations of £5,500 and £1,300 to Footsteps Foundation, who support children with both educational and physical disabilities, to fund their ‘spider therapy’ which comprises of a special piece of equipment that supports the children’s limbs to help them learn to walk. Our second donation helped to purchase special MEMO shoes that are prescribed by paediatric doctors to aid in the teaching of walking stably.
A third example of our community support donations was funding towards Designability to help them keep their fleet of wheelchairs and specialist equipment useable for the children they support who are living with disabilities.
Sports Teams Sponsorship
Near the beginning of the year we started our newest campaign to help children become included in sport and an active lifestyle. Our Sports Teams Sponsorship campaign provides funding for kit, sessions, coaches and memberships to children and young people around the UK who are not in a position to afford to participate.
We have started to work with multiple clubs and individuals around the country to ensure that children and young people can take part in the sport thy want to.
Three of the sporting causes we have donated towards or sponsored this year are as follows:
Carla Rudkin-Guillen – Carla is a British Champion gold medallist in Karate based in the south of England, training at Southern England Karate Federation. We are sponsoring Carla on a yearly basis to ensure that her specialist training can continue and she can continue succeeding in a sport that she is so passionate about and talented at. We are sponsoring Carla with training and kit costs.
Oakmeadians Rugby Football Club – based in Bournemouth are the second largest youth rugby team in the south. They are an inclusive club who strive to get people from all walks of life involved in rugby. We are currently sponsoring two kits for two youth teams who play at Oakmeadians and providing funding for those who cannot afford the club membership fees.
Swansea Storm Fletchlings – wheelchair basketball team from South Wales. They are proud to be an inclusive team that gives people from all backgrounds the chance to get involved in competitive sport. This year we have funded the purchase of three specialist wheelchairs for use by the club and its team members.
We know that sport, team sports and living an active lifestyle is crucial to living a healthy life. We are really proud to be sponsoring sports teams now so that children from around the UK have the opportunity to be included.
Companies who have supported us
We are very lucky at Little Lives UK that so many companies around the UK want to support the work we do and the children we provide services to.
We have received both donations of equipment and monetary donations from companies such as Fordway Solutions, the Co-Op through their community fund and BT with donations of IT equipment.
Without the help and support from these companie, we would not have been able to do half of what we have achieved this year so thank you to every single one of them!
This year we have been lucky enough to have carried on working with our original ambassador, Chris Martin, who is an Intelligence Researcher with the Metropolitan Police. Chris also runs a boxing club in Feltham which we are proud to support as they keep children out of potential harm and teach them how to focus their energy into something productive.
This year we have also stated working with a further five incredible individuals.
Issy Haigh – former GB Acrobatic Medallist who has competed and won medals in the World games, European Games and is a three times British champion. Issy has also worked as a coach for children who are keen to learn gymnastics and be part of the gymnastics community. Issy’s work with children has inspired them to continue taking part and competing in gymnastics, helping them make friends, keep fit and learn new skills that one day could take them to a competitive level.
Abbie Brown – a professional rugby player. She has represented England in Rugby 7s and 15s and was even picked to be Captain of the England 7s team at age 20! Abbie has played internationally and competed at two Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games along with the World Cup and World Sevens Series. Abbie is truly a remarkable and inspirational athlete who continues to inspire children and young people around the UK.
Asha Patel – has worked on the trading floor in London for 15 years. She mentors individuals in the city and actively participates in work experience opportunities with young people. She is passionate about exercise and wellbeing and has two young daughters. Her family regular support various children’s and health related charities through event organisation and participation.
David Hill – David Hill is a 2X Paralympian in swimming and triathlon, a World & European Medallist, British Champion and was Team GB’s youngest athlete in the 2004 Paralympics and Top 10 Finisher in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games. David currently coaches swimming in Devon for a local club which teaches children the skills they need, how to be safe in the water, and gives the children an opportunity to make new friends, be part of a community and stay healthy.
Ben Pearson – former Police Officer who appeared on the Channel 5 show Police Interceptors for three series before his retirement in 2020. Ben is a highly valued member of our team with mental health experiences of his own, he has spoken so openly about them make sure he is able to help others any way he can. On top of this Ben also runs his own 1965 PTSD Awareness Charity in which he helps out when he can.
So Little Lives UK has had an extremely busy year. But we could not have done it without the help and support from everyone who has either donated to us, fundraised for us or has simply followed the work we do and help us spread the word of our work.
We look forward to next year where we know we will be able to help even more people than this year.