Last Friday, millions of people throughout the country took part in fundraising events to help raise money for Children In Need. Children and adults alike, from all walks of life and of all levels of ability, enjoyed dressing up in spots, pyjamas and fancy dress, taking part in all sorts of loopy, screwy, dippy activities, making Pudsey ears, holding cake sales, walking, running, swimming, cycling… and much, much more!
On the night, BBC Children in Need raised just over £50m during its telethon, with more still to come in from communities all over the UK. Since 1980 Children in Need has raised over £600 million for disadvantaged children and young people in the UK, and we all know the valuable work this money has made possible.
But the value of Children in Need lies not just in the money it raises. It also raises awareness among the general public of the day-to-day challenges that many children and their families have to face in just getting by. It also raises awareness of the work that charities like Little Miracles do in supporting those children, families and carers. Ultimately Children in Need also funds projects which are less desirable as well providing it benefits children.
Perhaps most valuable of all, however, is that Children in Need also enables disadvantaged children and their families to get involved in the fun and games of fundraising. It helps to break down the barriers that often separate children who experience disability and disadvantage from ‘normal’ children, challenges society’s prejudices and stereotypes, and promotes inclusion. It lets them share, for example, in that great sense of achievement in raising such a mind-blowing amount of money. The importance of this is the 4 out of every 10 disabled children rarely or never have the opportunity to play with non-disabled children and nearly two-thirds of people say they avoid disabled people because they don’t know how to act around them.
It’s truly heartwarming to witness the generosity of the Great British Public during Children in Need. It is even more heartwarming to see the smiles on the faces of the children whom the charity benefits. But most heartwarming of all is to see those same children working and playing with their less disadvantaged peers – to their mutual benefit.