Children North East celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2016. The charity was founded in Newcastle to give children living in the town’s slums a day trip to the seaside as a treat but principally for the fresh air and their health. It quickly expanded to providing longer holidays, enrichment activities and Night Shelters for street children, routes out of poverty through employment in a Messenger Boy service and agricultural work, and for girls, training in domestic service. In 1906 they set up the first TB Sanatorium for children in the country at Stannington.
For most of the last century the charity managed its own children’s homes the last of which closed in 1991. Since then they have provided services to support children and young people in their families, schools and communities in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham; and also influencing policy and practice for families in rural areas, fathers and more recently child poverty.
Children’s rights are at the heart of Children North East as expressed in their values of respect, empowerment, equality, openness, acceptance and partnership. They plan to measure the organisation’s impact in terms of the difference made to children’s rights as perceived by children and young people. Children North East is eager to work with any partner, statutory, commercial or third sector to ensure all north east children and young people grow up happy and healthy.
During this 125th year the organisation has joined with the Children’s Foundation, British Medical Association and the region’s universities to host a regional conference about the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people. Towards the end of the year Children North East will publish a report on state of childhood in the north east and host a call to action.