20th Anniversary Somerset Stories: Children’s World







Children’s World was one of the very first charities we funded, and we’ve been very pleased to have been able to fund them many times over the last 20 years, awarding over £20,000 in grants in the last two years alone. 

Founded in 1981 by Arabella Churchill to provide educational, creative and social benefits for all children with particular reference to children with special needs, Children’s World runs a wide variety of workshops in schools, alongside other outreach and community activities. The charity believes strongly that when children are having fun and enjoying themselves, they are far more open to learning and creativity.

We spoke to Paddy Hill, Director of Children’s World who told us more about their work and how grant funding from SCF has allowed them to develop and grow.

“We support people in mainstream and special schools by delivering educational workshops as part of the PSHE (personal, social & health education) school curriculum, as well as putting on social events and activities in the community, such as our Family Festival. Although our main activities are educational we also create fun activities, for children and for parents. It’s about developing positivity in life and those enriching experiences for the whole family.

In 2018 Children’s World received funding from Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) to develop volunteering opportunities for young people with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities). 59 young people took part in a variety of roles which included performance and workshops, learning social media and design, filming and photography, and event planning.

Those who took part gained a lot of confidence, and a core team of these volunteers expressed an interest in creating a committee or steering group so they could play a greater role in how the Children’s World charity is run. This became our Youth Committee, and their work, which is ongoing, has given us a refreshed insight into how young people in Somerset are feeling and what’s relevant to them today. Our work is now largely led by the opinions and voice of the Youth Committee, which simply wouldn’t have existed without funding from SCF.

We received a letter from the parent of one of the young people who took part in the volunteering project. Here is an excerpt:

“Harry* is diagnosed with Worster Drought Syndrome, which affects his speech and the understanding of it and also includes learning difficulties, autistic tendencies and some
physical and sensory difficulties. The big difficulty Harry has is socialising and being with his peer group and making friends.

Opportunities are few and far between so what was offered by Children’s World was fantastic for him. With all the different volunteering aspects that were offered, Harry managed to access so many amazing things that he would have been unable to do without this. He met new people and interacted with the staff, other volunteers and the public and for Harry this was a very big thing. He has gained confidence and self worth from this and has so enjoyed himself and has always wanted to go and join in with everything that was on offer.

The biggest highlight for Harry was visiting the local radio station and talking on it. Family and friends tuned in and wept, at how proud they were of him. Many have known him most of his life and couldn’t believe what he had accomplished and the main thing was that Harry was so chuffed and pleased with himself. This was an opportunity that we were so grateful for.

The whole scheme was so worthwhile and I would like to thank the people who funded it, because it takes people like you to step up and give the Harrys in this world the chance to be able to try these things. Harry has had so many positive vibes from this whole experience and it has helped him so much with his confidence. Here’s to more funding like this and having people like Children’s World carry it out.

Thank you, Harry’s Mum”

Without the support of Somerset Community Foundation, a lot of what we do wouldn’t be possible; it’s meant we’ve really been able to expand the work we do and push it forward. In these increasingly difficult times we’re able to put on community events across the year for free or minimal cost. Thanks to the grant funding, we’re able to give local families living in poverty the resources to have fun and access the nice things, instead of only having enough to pay for the necessities in life.”

*The name of this young person has been changed

16 September 2022


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