Child of Wales Awards makes substantial donation to its charities

The Child of Wales Awards, an event that celebrates the inspirational achievements of children across Wales, has thanked its sponsors for their continued support, which has allowed it to make a substantial donation to charity now, despite its annual event being delayed due to the coronavirus.

The event, originally due to take place in the Celtic Manor on April 3, 2020, will now go ahead on April 9, 2021, after originally being rescheduled for the autumn. The event will also release a video celebrating the achievements of some of the children nominated for awards this autumn.

The Child of Wales will donate £5,000 to each of the charities it is raising money for in recognition of the challenging times they are enduring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Its charities are: Teenage Cancer Trust, Dreams & Wishes and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

The Child of Wales is backed by Bluestone National Park Resort, Trade Centre Wales and Bidfood. The category sponsors are: 1192 Laser & Beauty Clinic, Acuity Law, Andrew Rees & Sons Butchers, Barclays, Bibendum Wine, Castell Howell Foods, DWJ Group, DWJ Wealth Management, Gower College Swansea, Iceland Foods, Joe’s Ice Cream, MGY, Mitre Linen, Princes Gate, Principality Building Society, RedKite Solicitors, Sytner BMW and Thomas Recruitment Group.

A number of other companies are helping fund the support packages for the winners, funding their stay at the Celtic Manor and Bluestone. These are: Penguin Recruitment, AB Glass, Work Wales, Gallagher, Seren Global Media, Holder Mathias Architects, Blue Tiger Marketing, Bullock, Storm technologies and MyConcern.

The Child of Wales will also unveil a small number of new awards this autumn, designed to recognise the contribution of young people in Wales who have gone the extra mile for their friends, relatives and their local community in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

Blanche Sainsbury, the founder of the event, said: “We would, once again, like to thank all of our sponsors, supporters and stakeholders for their continued support during these unprecedented times. It means a lot to us, the charities we are supporting and the children and young people whose lives and achievements we will celebrate. It gives us all hope and something to look forward to in the midst of uncertainty. But in the context of the pandemic and limitations on social gatherings, we have had to map the best way forward for the Child of Wales Awards.

“We have done this in the context of government guidelines and scientific advice and in the best interests of everyone involved in Child of Wales. But we are also still determined to create some magic and offer joy and happiness to individuals – the purpose of Child of Wales. When the event eventually does go ahead next year, we promise the long wait will be worth it – the evening will be amazing. We intend to finally deliver what we started and what so many people have worked so hard to make a very special event.

“Meanwhile, we are acutely aware of the challenges many charities have faced as a result of lockdown and restrictions on society. The delay of our event has limited our ability to fundraise but in light of the funding challenges many charities are facing, we will be presenting our charities with £5,000 each immediately. We hope this will help them through these difficult times. We again thank our sponsors for their continued support, which has made this possible.

“In addition to this, because we did not want to keep our amazing young people waiting that long before their achievements could be recognised, we also have a special surprise in store.

“We will be contacting all our young award winners over the next few months to tell them they have won and give them some very special surprises. We plan to then release a video of celebration, on the original date of the rescheduled awards on October 30.

“Finally, we will be adding a small number of new awards designed to celebrate the bravery and community spirit of Wales’ young people during the pandemic and through lockdown. If anyone is interested in working with us on these or sponsoring then, please get in touch.”

We have been catching up with some of our sponsors lately and it was amazing to hear about some of the initiatives undertaken by the Principality Building Society of late – during and despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Building Society donated more than £103,000 to our charity partners in the first half of 2020 including the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity close to our heart, and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru.

It has maintained its community support programmes through the lockdown period, helping foodbanks, donating rugby balls to kids, donating IT equipment to various school and community organisations and supporting the Free Bikes for Kids Project in Newport.

It has also sponsored the Young Enterprise Fiver Challenge (from Home) in Wales – which launched with more than 7,500 Primary Pupils taking part.

The Fiver from Home initiative asks students aged 5-11 years to create, research and plan a business with just £5. As the sponsor of Fiver from Home in Wales, Principality has provided funding allowing Young Enterprise to bring the challenge to Wales on a larger scale and in the Welsh language.

Fiver from Home has been created in response to the coronavirus pandemic in place of the Fiver Challenge which would have usually been run in the classroom. The new initiative allows young people to develop their creativity, commercial awareness and money management skills while at home.

During the project, students will learn important skills for starting their own mini business, including designing a company logo, undertaking market research, and planning their product/service. They will then pitch their plan in a Dragon’s Den-style to someone in their house. Throughout the summer months, students will also have the chance to win prizes by entering monthly competitions for the best logo, sales pitch and overall project in Wales.

Finally, it has also run its annual Summer Challenge Series, which has included Garden Tennis, Afternoon Tea at Home, Basketball, Trek 26 Local, and Virtual Zwift.

Well done Principality, your community-focused ethos and charitable work represents everything Child of Wales represents.

Here at Child of Wales, we are celebrating National Children’s Day today (Sunday May 17), which is dedicated to sharing the activities of all the wonderful organisations that work to promote and protect the wellbeing of children and young people throughout the UK.

The initiative is also inviting children and families to share what they have learnt in the last few months, about being connected as human beings sharing one amazing planet that needs our care. It is seeking entries from children and young people that showcase this in any form ranging from posters to paintings to poems to videos (www.nationalchildrensdayuk.com/)

This seemed like a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves about the fantastic work of some of our main charities and how they continue to help and support young people in these unprecedented times.

Teenage Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to providing specialist nursing care and support to young people with cancer, continues to do everything they can to make sure its specialist nurses and dedicated Youth Support Coordinators are still there for young people when they’re needed.

Young people being treated on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit or ward are continuing to receive care from specialist Teenage Cancer Trust staff even if in a different place, depending on the needs of the NHS Trust in question.

Meanwhile, Teenage Cancer Trust Youth Support Coordinators are still working with young people going through cancer treatment; they may just be speaking to them by phone or online, instead of face to face in some cases.

For more detail on how this charity is coping during COVID-19 crisis, click here. 

Meanwhile, Dreams & Wishes, a volunteer-run charity that works with the families of sick children across the UK, is also continuing to provide vital support throughout a child’s illness and helping to build happy memories by making wishes come true.

The charity has had to change some of its working practices in order to protect the health of its volunteers, the children it supports and their families. However, wherever possible, the charity is continuing to grant the dreams and wishes of seriously ill children and their families.

For more detail on how this charity is coping during COVID-19 crisis, click here. 

Finally, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Cymru/Wales, continues its work supporting children, young people and their families throughout Wales.

Sadly, its Childline service has been inundated with contacts from children and young people about Coronavirus, and these are steadily increasing. Childline has already counselled hundreds of children and young people concerned about the virus, and young people are finding additional support in one another on its online message boards.

Common issues children are discussing include anxiety, exacerbated by the disruption of their normal routines due to school closures, as well as the inescapable 24/7 news coverage. Many young people are already coping with challenges in some way, whether that’s school, friendships, or just growing up. At this transitional point in their lives, the extra pressure caused by COVID-19 can be very difficult for young people to cope with.

The NSPCC says that talking to people will help a young person realise they are not alone. It’s important we allow them to make time for themselves, create a routine to limit the impact having time off can have on things like mood and sleep, as well as keep them busy with things like exercise, schoolwork or hobbies.

For more detail on how this charity is coping during COVID-19 crisis, click here. 

The Child of Wales Awards is pleased to be supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust, which is running an important campaign at the moment as youngsters with cancer symptoms are deterred from seeing their doctor amid Coronavirus response (#BestToCheck campaign).

Teenage Cancer Trust says it has learnt that in some parts of the UK, for the first time, there have been no newly diagnosed cases of cancer in teenagers and young adults as the impact of the coronavirus hits NHS services. In some places there has been a 75% fall in cancer referrals.

Even before coronavirus, some young people with suspected cancer symptoms had to visit their GPs multiple times before they were referred to a specialist. This has led to the charity launching its #BestToCheck campaign.

The campaign aims to remind young people of the common signs and symptoms of cancer, and despite the nation being on lockdown due to Coronavirus, urge them not to sit on symptoms and contact their GP.

The charity notes that cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in 13-24 year olds but with early diagnosis, lives can be saved and the risk of developing other complications is reduced.

So Teenage Cancer Trust is urging all young people to look out for the following symptoms:

  • lumps, bumps or swellings
  • unexplained tiredness
  • mole changes
  • persistent pain
  • significant weight change.

Dr Louise Soanes, Direct of Services at Teenage Cancer Trust said: “Every day around seven young people aged 13-24 are diagnosed with cancer in the UK. We know that across all age groups, cancer referrals have fallen by as much as 75% during the Coronavirus pandemic, and with the anecdotal evidence we’ve gathered, we fear that many 13-24 year olds will be deterred from contacting their GP, not wanting to add pressure to the health service.

“We know that cancer can be harder to treat if it’s not diagnosed early, but young people can be slower to visit their GP with symptoms. It can also take longer for them to be referred to a specialist. That’s why putting off an appointment will make things harder for the NHS in the long term.

“My message to all teenagers and young adults is simple. Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of cancer and if you are worried, contact your GP. Don’t ignore any changes to your body that you are seeing; it can be worrying, but it’s important to get anything checked out. The health service is still very much open and wants to support you.”

Find out more about #BestToCheck: www.teenagecancertrust.org/signs

We want to share the word far and wide about some of the initiatives our charity partner Teenage Cancer Trust has instigated to help it continue to raise the funds it needs during these challenging times.

Debbie Jones, senior relationship manager, Wales, explains that the many young people with cancer across the UK are particularly at risk from COVID-19. “They may face even greater uncertainty and isolation than ever before, with healthcare services incredibly stretched,” Debbie says. “Cancer doesn’t stop for anything, so however long this crisis lasts, young people will need our support more than ever.”

She says that the charity’s specialist nurses and support teams are working unbelievably hard for young people with cancer. Yet, at the same time, they are being mobilised to help with the national effort to tackle coronavirus. So, to help them and young people with cancer, the charity is moving quickly to create innovative new ways of providing support, including through digital technology, to make sure they get the best possible advice on how COVID-19 may affect them.

However, since most of the charity’s fundraising activities and events have been cancelled or postponed, including a sold-out week of music and comedy at the Royal Albert Hall, they are calling for supporters to help in other ways.

Debbie says: “Many of our supporters have already been in touch asking how they can help us be there for young people with cancer at this toughest of times. If you can help, then please do donate today. Whatever you’re able to give will make a difference. We cannot let young people with cancer face this crisis alone.”

As such, the charity has launched a dedicated fundraising portal, which can be found here: Teenage Cancer Trust COVID 19 Crisis Appeal