An expanding North East charity that has helped regenerate disadvantaged communities through creative education for 25 years has an extra reason to celebrate as it is shortlisted for a major award.
Only weeks after announcing its expansion into Middlesbrough following a quarter-century celebration, Kids Kabin, which has transformed opportunities for thousands of Newcastle’s young people, has been announced as one of only three local organisations in the running to be named the North East’s Small Charity of the Year.
The Walker-based charity works with children and young people in economically disadvantaged areas to teach practical, hands-on skills that boost their sense of self-worth and confidence, as well as helping them address local issues. The organisation is now in the process of setting up a long-term presence in the Grove Hill area of Middlesbrough following a successful pilot programme, and is hoping the boost from the North East Charity Awards 2019 will help it raise awareness among local people.
Charity manager Will Benson said: “Charities such as Kids Kabin both reflect and bear so many of the challenges faced by our society today, not least those issues faced by young people. Many young people live in disadvantaged households which means they can struggle to succeed in both education and then employment as they grow up.
“Our aim has always been to give children and young people in areas of significant need the chance to fulfil their potential by enabling them to find something creative and practical they can succeed in. And we’re delighted at this news, which will help us raise our profile and ultimately reach even more children and young people across the North East.”
Kids Kabin, which has worked with up to 10,000 children since it was formed in 1994, started life in an empty shop unit in Walker, but now uses a fleet of bicycle trailers made by young people with the support of the Kids Kabin team to bring its many activities to those most in need. These trailers allowed it to run regular pilot taster street workshop sessions in Grove Hill, with the support of local organisations, using a mobile kitchen, portable pottery wheel and woodworking bench.
Will added: “Our longevity is entirely down to the support we’ve received from the communities in which we work, so it’s wonderful to receive this kind of recognition in such a milestone year for us. It truly belongs to all the young people and families involved, both across Newcastle and in Middlesbrough, many of whom still support us as volunteers.
“We’re really looking forward to the award ceremony on October 17.”
One of those volunteers, 18-year-old Noor Amer from Cowgate in Newcastle, has also been shortlisted in the North East Charity Awards’ Young Champion category, for her work with Kids Kabin.
Will said: “We’re particularly thrilled to see Noor receive the credit she so deserves with this nomination as she’s a real asset, not only to Kids Kabin but to the community as a whole.
“She works hard to make sure as many young people as possible get to know about the opportunities open to them, and if there’s something new that people want, Noor will do all she can to create a chance for them to get involved in that activity on their own doorstep.”
Charity trustee Yashin Sarnaik said: “Kids Kabin’s dedication to the North East community and to improving access to opportunity for young people across the region is so important, and has had such a positive impact over the last 25 years, it’s wonderful to see it shortlisted for such a prestigious category in these awards.
“Noor is testament to the work it does and both would be deserving winners on the night.”
Kids Kabin, which works with around 120 children each week and more than 1,000 each year, with regular trips, camps and residentials across the region, will find out if it is 2019’s North East Small Charity of the Year at a black-tie event at the Hilton Hotel Newcastle Gateshead.