Variety – the Children’s Charity Jersey is part of a worldwide organisation whose aims and objectives are to improve the quality of life for all children. All the money we raise in Jersey remains in Jersey and is used directly for the benefit of children here. Our aim is to try to ensure that as far as possible all children have the same advantages as their peers.
There are primarily two aspects of our work here in Jersey. Firstly, we undertake larger projects for schools, youth organisations, children’s gym and sports clubs, including places which offer respite care like Oakwell and Eden House for children with special needs. In the past, we have provided playground equipment, refurbished gardens, sensory equipment and helped to improve general facilities for children.
Secondly, Variety at Work provides individual help to families and children. Almost on a daily basis we receive requests from Health Visitors, Social Workers, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Paediatric Occupational Therapists and all agencies who have direct dealings with children and their families. Without exception, these requests are for families who struggle financially and are most often single parent families.
Most of the requests are for help with basic day to day needs like food, nappies, baby milk and baby items, school uniforms and shoes. Over and above this help, during the past year we have provided 16 beds and bedding for children who were either sleeping on the floor or had broken beds. We have also supplied some furniture and carpets for children’s bedrooms. For babies and toddlers we have supplied 10 baby buggies, stair gates, high chairs and 16 car seats. At the request of Health Visitors we have provided spectacles for three children. We paid for holiday care for 22 children when the caring parent was ill or when it was thought beneficial for the child. For the home, we have provided 1 washing machine, 2 cookers and a fridge for families who were being re-homed from furnished to unfurnished accommodation.
We paid towards school trips to France for 21 children to enable them to join the rest of their class. For many children this is the only opportunity for them to experience travel during their childhood so this is definitely money well spent. We also paid for an i-pad to enable a GCSE student to continue her coursework whilst having hospital treatment in the U.K. We were also very pleased to be able to pay for a gifted boy to attend the Football Centre for Excellence. The total for this kind of help was 317 families with 670 children amounting to £58,232. 15.
The larger projects we undertook were the complete refurbishment of a bathroom for a family with two disabled children. We also contributed towards the refurbishment of a garden where one of the children in the family is autistic, making the garden less hazardous for the child. We supplied tables and shelving for Gorey Youth Club and we contributed towards a Minibus for St. Martin’s School.
With thanks to Joint Chief Barker, Robyn Lapidus who again donated the venue and wonderful food we had an excellent Christmas Party. The children were entertained by DJ Lummy. Royston’s Balloon Magic and of course Santa made an appearance with gifts for all the children.
In July, again with grateful thanks to the Jersey Mutual Insurance Society for their very generous sponsorship, we held a Summer Party at the Hotel Ambassadeur which was a huge success. We had magic, face painting, dancing and super party food, including jelly and ice cream, which is a must for any Summer Party! All of the children were given going home presents, balloons and an extra ice cream thanks to Barker Stuart Young.
At the beginning of August 150 children enjoyed 2 hours of exclusive rides at the Battle of Flowers Funfair thanks to James Cole, the Manager. The children also enjoyed a light lunch of hot dog/hamburger and chips and a drink. For the children from Mont a l’Abbe Holiday Club this has become the highlight of their holiday treats.
As we look forward we must, without any doubt, make and take every opportunity we can to raise further funds if we are to continue to meet the needs of children in Jersey. In my view, it is imperative that we do our utmost to ensure that every child goes to school with a complete uniform and a well fitted pair of school shoes. We must continue to help with the school trips, ensuring no child who wishes to join their class is left behind. For families who struggle financially, we must ensure that we continue to help to provide children’s cots, baby equipment, beds and bedding. No child should ever have to sleep on the floor or without warm comfortable bedding.
I must thank the Crew, Barkers and Ladies for entrusting me with this very valuable part of Variety which I regard as a huge privilege and which I find extremely rewarding. I should also like to thank the Health Visitors, Social Workers, Paediatric Occupational Therapists and Family Support Workers who are dedicated professionals. It is a pleasure to have contact with them.
We must continue to make every effort to encourage new members and urge support for all our fundraising events. This can be done by contacting Variety – the Children’s Charity – Tel: 856937 or by using the website www.varietyjersey.org.je.
Barker Jeanette Pinel
Variety at Work