Children in Need: A uniting moment

Children in Need Chief Executive, David Ramsden

Ariel speaks to Children in Need Chief Executive, David Ramsden, about the importance of Children in Need to the BBC and what's happening this year.

Is there anything different or unusual about this year's Children in Need?

This year's campaign is proving fantastic with so many ways for people to get involved. We have been asking our fundraisers to dress up as their childhood hero and many of our celebrity friends have been leading the way. Sir Terry Wogan dressed up as his childhood favourite Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy, while Dermot O'Leary went for Antarctic explorer, Ernest Shackleton.

A new element to the campaign this year has been the Countryfile Ramble - that saw the show's presenters undertake rambles across the UK with young people from projects we fund. This was no mean feat for the youngsters involved. They overcame some really tough challenges and inspired the public to get behind them and put on their own rambles throughout the UK.

And, of course, there is the big night of TV itself which is set to look bigger and better than ever before. This year there will be a Star Wars inspired sketch, which is going to be brilliant, involving R2-D2 and C-3PO. I urge everyone to tune in, it'll be a really special, memorable moment.

Can you supply an overview of the last 12 months and tell us some of the charities we have helped?

We are currently supporting 2,500 projects across the UK and in the last year alone, we helped change the lives of nearly half-a-million disadvantaged children and young people. We run seven grant rounds across the year where organisations working with children across the UK are able to apply to us for funding.

We fund projects in every corner of the UK, projects that support children facing a range of disadvantages such as poverty and deprivation; children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect or disabled young people.

Some recent projects that have received funding from us this year include:

  • Safer Wales a specialised service to young women who are, or who are in danger of, becoming sexually exploited.
  • Women's Work in Derbyshire supports children and young people affected by parental substance misuse.
  • The Dean & Cauvin Trust supports young people preparing to leave care or who have just left care.
  • Arts Care NI that delivers a programme of arts activities that supports children in hospital and disabled children.
Is it a challenge to keep coming up with excellent initiatives to keep Children in Need fresh and relevant?

Every year the campaign is different and, yes, every year we need to come up with fresh and relevant ideas to engage our supporters and fundraisers alike. Our team works hard to keep the fundraising campaign fresh and engaging, likewise so does the wider BBC.

We are very lucky that our supporters provide us with a great source of inspiration with all of the fun and wonderful things that they do to raise money.

But what we find most motivating for our supporters, are the stories of the young people we support. We are constantly meeting children and young people who have been supported by the charity. Their stories sit at the heart of our campaign and all that we do, and is without doubt the most motivating and engaging component of our campaign.

How important is Children in Need to the BBC?

Children in Need is something that arguably only the BBC could deliver. Every area of the BBC gets behind the charity, from local radio to network TV and the support for the charity is unwavering.

There is some remarkable activity going on right across the BBC from BBC Radio Somerset challenging their Breakfast presenter to broadcast live on air for 24 hours, to The One Show's Rickshaw Challenge which, to date, has raised a mammoth £7.9million. It's phenomenal.

BBC Children in Need is, without doubt, a uniting moment that brings everyone together across the BBC all for one very simple aim: to raise as much money as possible for disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. And having raised £790million and counting to date, that is something for everyone to be very proud of.

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