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Newham Giving scheme aiming to keep children out of trouble

PUBLISHED: 13:40 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:40 10 May 2017

Beckton Skills Centre's go-kart project

Beckton Skills Centre's go-kart project

EECF

Keeping young people out of trouble in the school holidays isn’t an easy job - but one charity is hoping to change all that by providing alternatives to the streets.

Go Wild summer play scheme at Bonny Downs Community AssociationGo Wild summer play scheme at Bonny Downs Community Association

East End Community Foundation operates in three boroughs - Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney - and aims to improve the lives of people living there by coordinating charitable giving from individuals and businesses.

Its Newham Giving scheme is now in its fourth year, and since its inception, has supported more than 3,000 young people through 17 different community groups.

Funding comes in two different forms, an endowment - where the donated money is invested and the annual interest spent - and short-term grants, which are spent almost immediately.

Chief executive Tracey Walsh explained that the money is used to address a shortfall in activities to keep young people off the streets and out of trouble during school holidays.

Create Arts' creative arts project for young carersCreate Arts' creative arts project for young carers

“When we looked into it a bit more, some of [the existing courses] ran 10am-4pm,” Tracey explained.

“For a lot of young people involved in antisocial behaviour, it’s in the evenings where they have nothing to do.”

Tracey is keen to make clear that what Newham Giving does supplements what is already provided, including council-run activities, rather than trying to rival it.

“We had an application to run a sports event in a park,” she said.

“When we spoke to the council, we found they had already agreed to run another project in that park in the same week.”

The organisations it funds provide activities for young people of all ages and backgrounds, including a special project for young carers.

One summer scheme, organised by Beckton Skills Centre, allows young people to build and race their own go-karts and participants have the option to take part in a further training course, which provides them with an engineering qualification.

“There are some events where you can just turn up, play a football tournament or whatever, and go home again,” Tracey said.

“Others are more than that.”

Most of the holiday sessions are free, with those that do charge a nominal fee generally using that money to cover the cost of providing lunch to participants.

The benefits of this, Tracey said, are that children who benefit from free school meals during term time do not go hungry, that parents can continue to work without worrying about the cost of childcare and that children are continuing to learn new things in the holidays.

The eventual aim is to fund projects during other school holidays, but to do that, more money is needed.

“We’re holding our first Newham Giving Day later this year,” Tracey said.

“We’re hoping people will support what’s going on in their community.”

The fundraising day will be held in October - the exact date yet to be set, as to avoid clashing with school holidays - and aims to get schools and businesses involved in raising money in whatever way they choose.

For some, that might be a non-uniform day or a cake sale, while others might decide to do something more unusual.

Anyone who wants to donate to the Newham Giving fund can do so by visiting eastendcf.org/index.php?cat=8&sec=108


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