Edinburgh charities awarded £343,000 in Children in Need cash

Pudsey bear, mascot for BBC Children in Need
Pudsey bear, mascot for BBC Children in Need
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Pudsey has paid a visit to Edinburgh to hand four charities a total of nearly £350,000 in BBC Children In Need cash.

Smart Play Network, Spartans Community Football Academy, the Edinburgh Young Carers Project and St Crispin’s Out of School Care Association are all to be given a cut of a £342,941 grant awarded by the charity.

All the organisations were chosen because of their work with disadvantaged children in the city.

Smart Play Network – which provides safe outdoor play spaces for children aged five to 13 in deprived areas of the Capital – received the largest amount, netting more than £96,000 worth of funding over the next three years.

Chief executive Lesley Fox said the money would create jobs.

“It’s fantastic – we’re going to be able to hire three extra support staff to continue our work in Bingham and Magdalene,” she said.

“The kids are excited about us being around for the next three years, as are parents and local partners, who understand how outdoor play contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of children.”

The Spartans Community Football Academy has also been awarded more than £90,000 in funding, with the aim of extending its social impact programme thanks to the opening of three new clubs – a Friday night club, aimed at keeping teenagers active and off the streets; a Saturday breakfast club; and an exclusive club for girls in north Edinburgh.

Margaret Murphy, chief executive of The Edinburgh Young Carers Project – which will receive £84,789 – said she wanted to use the funding to raise awareness of the challenges young carers face.

“Our carers are aged 11-15 and the responsibility they are given at such a difficult time of life is massive,” she said. “We give them a chance to get away from that responsibility for a few hours and talk through some of the issues around their caring.

“There are 5000 young carers in the UK who are ‘hidden’. They might be stressed and have nowhere to turn, we hope grants like this can help us raise awareness of the problems they face.

“Without this kind of funding, organisations like ours and the others which will benefit simply wouldn’t exist.”

St Crispin’s Out of School Care Association, which provides care for children with learning difficulties and those on the autism spectrum will pocket an additional £70,215 to support its after-school club programme. The money will go towards staffing costs for the provision of sensory play services and trips out where students can engage with their local community.

Last year’s BBC Children In Need appeal – culminating in a TV spectacular in November – raised a record £37 million.