Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 11.28.49A TYNESIDE charity that helps disabled and disadvantaged young people has celebrated its ‘best ever year’ with a glitzy ball.

About 100 people came to the Novotel, Kingston Park, for the Smile For Life Children’s Charity Ball, to celebrate 12 months of achievements.

These included raising over £8,500 from the charity’s first variety show in March where 800 people attended, being chosen as the Blaydon Race and Gung-Ho charity 2015, helping more students to gain work placements at Café Beam, and opening up two pop-up versions of the café.

Guests were greeted with a fizz reception, before being invited to drink and dine, and listen to CEO Paula Gascoigne and Young Ambassador Tom Lascelles talk about the year.

Ms Gascoigne said: “This past year has been such a whirlwind and our best year to date.  It’s only when I sat down to write my speech for the ball that I realised just how much we had done in a year. We are a small, local charity but we have achieved so much. I think that says a lot about what is possible – we don’t let anything stand in our way.

“The ball was a fantastic way to get together friends, supports, volunteers and beneficiaries and let them know what we have done and who we have helped, and also to have a great night.”

The charity funds specialist equipment, wonderful experiences, and individual requests for those in need.

In addition it set up Café Beam in Gosforth, run by young people with learning difficulties and disabilities to help them gain confidence and skills for the world of work.

Charity young Ambassador Tom Lascelles, who has Cerebral Palsy, said: “It was amazing to be part of such a big event that means so much to the charity, I felt humbled to have a role.

“We are all so busy and it’s easy to forget what we have actually achieved, so it is great to recap on it and celebrate the year.

“I love the night and the friendly atmosphere, everybody seems to have something in common. Smile For Life helps so many people in so many different ways and I can honestly say it has changed my life.”

The 18-year-old added: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to the staff at the Novotel as this year the young people got to stay the night after the ball and that was a wonderful experience, I really enjoyed it.”

Cash was raised through ticket sales, party games and a raffle.

For more information on Smile For Life or Café Beam go to www.smileforlife.org.uk or 0191 2844166.