How You Help 

BBC Children in Need is the BBC’s official UK charity. With the money that you raise, we provide grants to projects that improve the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

Currently, there are thousands of UK children living with poverty, abuse, disability and overwhelming responsibilities. We want to change that; to ensure that every child in the UK has a life that is safe, happy and secure and which empowers them to achieve their potential.

We’ve identified seven building blocks that we believe every child needs to live a happy, secure, safe and enriching life, and that all of our work is built on. You can read more about these building blocks below. But the really important thing for you to know is, we can only keep changing lives with your help. So thank you.

Some of the case studies do not include real images of the children.

Picture of school children holding lots of spotty Pudsey bears
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Being Physically Safe

… is when children have better access to safe spaces away from direct threat or harm, such as abuse (including online), neglect or violence. In other instances it can mean children being able to identify personal risk and take action to remove themselves from those situations, or to minimise the risk, and tell a trusted adult.

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Bronwyn is 14 she was struggling with feeling isolated, angry and depressed and began to self harm. After several visits to the doctors, counselling and mental health services, she was referred to Harmless. Harmless are funded by Children in Need to provide therapeutic support to children and young people who are at risk of self harm. Through attending the project Bronwyn has been able to identify her triggers and deal with her feelings. "It has now been over a year since I last self harmed, and that’s been tough but such an achievement! I still get angry but I cope. I still feel low but I cope. I found my coping mechanism."

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Being Physically Well

… is when children are able to be active and socially or physically mobile - even when they may be limited due to illness or disability. It also involves having a healthy diet, good awareness of nutrition, and of having support and information to make mature choices regarding behaviours that can endanger a person’s health, such as engaging in unsafe sex or substance misuse.

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Kai, Swansea

Kai had a stroke when he was just a one year old - this led to him having Cerebral Palsy. He is now quadriplegic, with only movement in his right arm and his head and he is unable to talk. However at Surfability in Swansea, which is funded by Children in Need, he is able to surf….check out that smile! Being out on the waves gives him the chance to be active, experience different senses and provides a great social group for Kai. “Sport is so important, whatever the ability” says his Mum. “It gets him out of his wheelchair and provides him with a different sensory experience”.

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Being Emotionally Well

… is when children can manage their feelings and make sense of traumatic or emotional setbacks. For some, it is essential that they are able to manage mental ill health that can manifest itself in such things as self-harming, depression or suicidal thoughts. For many, emotional well-being is built on having fun, getting a break and experiencing freedom from day-to-day challenges.

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Finlay, Swansea

Finlay has been caring for his Mum since he was seven, he is now 15. In all that time his Mum has been bed bound but he’s never thought of himself as a ‘Young Carer’ – he says it’s just what he does. He helps with the cooking, medication and showering his Mum. All of this on top of his everyday homework. He says the toughest part is that school don’t always understand that he has other tasks and he has been bullied for many years as a result of his caring role. Once a week though he can meet other young carers at a club funded by Children in Need, called Crossroads Young Carers. Not only can he can share his experiences but he can take respite breaks on the free trips they provide.

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Having Strong Self-Belief

… is when children have a positive sense of who they are and what they can achieve. Self-belief can be a combination of factors including self-esteem, confidence, pride in accomplishments, a sense of identity and having positive expectations for your future life.

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Alfie, Cirencester

Four year-old Alfie is on the Autistic Spectrum so he finds it hard to socialise and communicate. At Cirencester Opportunity Group, Alfie has sessions with a BBC Children in Need funded Music Therapist. During these sessions, Alfie learns to initiate and respond to communication. His favourite instrument is the piano which he plays with real creativity and expression. Alfie’s mum says that he’s now a more confident and happier little boy who can engage with other children and adults.

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Having Positive Relationships

… is when children have strong, positive and affirming relationships – starting with their family, carers and friends. Having trusted peers and adults in their lives also helps overcome loneliness and provide alternatives to disruptive and harmful pathways or activities. Children also benefit from having positive relationships with social and community groups relevant to them.

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Ben & Jake, Leicestershire

Ben and Jake’s dad died in December 2014 after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer earlier in the year. The two boys received support from a BBC Children in Need funded project at the Laura Centre. They have been able to attend a two-day children’s group with other bereaved youngsters and are also having one-to-one counselling. The support given to Ben and Jake has helped them through their time of grief and given them the chance to meet other children who are experiencing similar loss; they don’t feel alone.

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Having Essential Skills

… is when children have a wide range of personal and practical skills. Alongside various social, life, communication and creative skills, such as imagination and personal expression, we include children’s willingness and ability to engage with and achieve in education, training and employment.

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Matt, 15, was aggressive and intimidating towards his peers, lacked in self-esteem and believed the future held nothing positive for him. Matt engaged with a training and employment project that encouraged him to take on new roles and responsibilities and, as a result of building up trust with project workers, has opened up about his concerns about life. Matt’s outlook has changed dramatically. He is able to engage with peers without being confrontational and is active in shaping the project. He is now hoping to work as a youth worker.

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Being Positively Empowered

… is when children and young people can direct or manage their lives, or aspects of them. They make independent decisions, display appropriate behaviour, are motivated, express themselves and engage with activities and matters that affect them.

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Trisha, 16, is young single parent who had been in a violent and emotionally abusive relationship. While in the relationship she was regularly attending a training and life skills programme for young parents. The course enabled her to grow in confidence, meet other young mums and get the personal support needed to help leave the abusive relationship. Trisha sees the project as an important stepping stone in her life where she gained much needed skills and resources that will help her manage on her own.

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