Every year, on the 17th of November, people across the UK unite to support a remarkable cause (unique to the UK): Children in Need. This iconic charity event, organised by the BBC, has been a symbol of hope and solidarity for over four decades, aiming to improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people. With a rich history and a mission that touches hearts and minds all over, Children in Need continues to make a significant difference, one child at a time. Let's explore.
A brief history of Children in Need
Children in Need was first aired in 1980 and has since become a beloved tradition in the UK. Earlier charity appeals took place in 1927 as a five-minute radio broadcast on Christmas day, raising almost £70,000 in today’s money to be donated to four children’s charities.
In 1955, the first televised appeal happened on the BBC in 1955, called the Children’s Hour Christmas Appeal with a yellow glove puppet Sooty Bear and Harry Corbet as hosts. These appeals continued on the television and the radio until 1979 on Christmas Day, raising over £625,000. In 1980, they created a new format presented by Terry Wogan, Sue Lawley, and Esther Rantzen – with an increase in public donations of £1 million. The format continued to evolve since then with the television segments growing longer until it became an annual event.
In 1988, BBC Children in Need became a registered charity in England and Wales and later Scotland.
The idea was simple but powerful: to raise funds for children in need by encouraging donations and organising fundraising activities. The appeal show, which typically airs in November, has grown to become one of the most-watched charity telethons in the country.
The sums raised over the years go to a wide range of projects and organisations dedicated to helping disadvantaged children, including charities, community groups, and schools, all working tirelessly to improve the lives of children and young people facing various challenges, from poverty and illness to abuse and disability.
How do people raise money for Children in Need?
Fundraising for Children in Need takes various forms. Schools, workplaces, and communities often organise events such as bake sales, fancy-dress days, and sponsored challenges to raise money for the cause. The charity's signature mascot, Pudsey Bear, plays a prominent role in these efforts, providing a recognizable symbol of support and compassion. Plus, you can even buy Pudsey Bear jumpers for the children in your family, whether child, grandchild, niece/nephew and so on.
Where does the money go?
The funds raised by Children in Need go towards supporting a multitude of projects and initiatives across the UK. These projects cater to a wide spectrum of needs that children and young people may face. Some of the key areas of support include helping children with disabilities; children with physical and mental health challenges; funding educational projects and supporting children's learning and development; providing safety and protection for the vulnerable; supporting children living in poverty; and more.
The BBC Children in Need website FAQ page says: “BBC Children in Need is currently supporting over 2,400 local charities and projects in communities across the UK that are helping children and young people facing a range of disadvantages such as living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma.”
Over the years, the funds raised have transformed the lives of countless children and young people. From providing life-saving medical treatment to creating safe havens for those in need, the charity has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the UK's youth.
In addition to financial support, Children in Need raises awareness about the issues that vulnerable children face. The charity broadcasts powerful stories of resilience and determination, shedding light on the challenges that many young people encounter. This awareness can be a catalyst for change, inspiring people to get involved, volunteer, and support local projects.
What is the Children in Need Appeal Show?
The heart of Children in Need is the annual telethon, the "Appeal Show." It's an evening filled with heartwarming stories, celebrity appearances, live performances, and touching moments. The show encourages viewers to donate, participate in various challenges, and, most importantly, make a difference.
Check back on the BBC Children in Need website here, to find out when the appeal show will air.