Northern Ireland

BBC Children in Need: Friday fundraisers in NI

Holly Hamilton, Pudsey and Stephen Clements
Image caption Holly Hamilton and Stephen Clements will join Pudsey for the Children in Need appeal

It's that time of year again when Pudsey takes centre stage.

Friday night sees the annual BBC Children in Need Appeal on BBC One Northern Ireland.

Presenters Holly Hamilton and Stephen Clements fronted contributions from Northern Ireland to the UK-wide appeal.

Over the past year, Children in Need helped change the lives of over 51,000 children and young people in Northern Ireland.

Last year's "on the night" national total was £50.5m and in Northern Ireland it was £946,739.

The appeal funds 186 projects in Northern Ireland to the value of £10.4m.

Image copyright iCan Judo
Image caption iCan Judo helps children with learning difficulties to boost their self-esteem

One Northern Ireland project to benefit from Children In Need funding was iCan Judo - a judo club for children with additional needs, such as autism, learning difficulties, ADHD and Tourette's syndrome.

Sue McCartney from iCan explained that "adaptive" judo allows children to develop self-confidence and esteem.

She said the Children In Need funding had been a massive help.

"We've been able to buy our own mats," she added. "Our plan is to take adaptive judo to other special schools and community centres".

The funding also allowed iCan to take a team of six young people to the British adaptive judo championships in Cardiff.

"We had one child who was completely touch phobic and he won a gold medal in Cardiff, " said Ms McCartney.

Image caption A team of presenters including Tess Daly, Ade Adepitan, Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc will front the UK-wide coverage

The Acorn Women's Group in Augher, County Tyrone, offers a range of activities including art therapy and family support therapy, during after-school and summer holidays.

Roisin McCann from Acorn said the £50,000 Children in Need funding had been vital to the success of the scheme.

"It has been really useful - our children wouldn't have been able to have these activities because we're from a rural area," she added.

"Children who had low esteem are now getting into things they wouldn't have been able to."

Children in Need also funds nine Women's Aid groups across Northern Ireland.

Women's Aid ABCLN provides individual and group support sessions across County Antrim to children and young people affected by domestic violence.

Image caption One child's drawing shows the difference Women's Aid has made

One mum whose family benefited from the scheme said: "This service changed my wee boy's life.

"Before it, he wouldn't leave the house as he was too scared.

"After the service he is out playing with friends and on his bike the whole time."

Throughout the week leading up to Friday night, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle programmes have been looking at projects that have benefited from funding from the appeal and chatting with fundraisers across Northern Ireland.

On Friday evening, Holly and Stephen will be live from the W5 Discovery Centre in Belfast for this year's Northern Ireland television output.

One of the highlights will be 129 young singers from schools across Northern Ireland joining thousands of others from throughout the UK to form a choir in a live performance of the Cyndi Lauper classic True Colours.

Children in Need will be live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 19:00 GMT on Friday 15 November.

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