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Saturday, 23 May, 1998, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Pudsey bear says a big thank you
Gaby Roslin and a girl in a wheelchair
Gaby Roslin co-hosted the 1997 Children In Need Appeal
Children In Need is set to announce how much money it raised in last year's appeal and all the indications are that it will break the 20m barrier.

Playground in Barnet
23,375 for Barnet Play Association in London
The appeal raised 18.7m in 1996 but it is thought to have exceeded that figure and perhaps raised more than 20m for the first time since 1991.

Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin, who fronted the appeal night in November, will unveil the figure on Sunday and will also explain where some of the money has gone.

Barnet Play Association in north London is typical of the 3,000 charities which have received grants from last year's appeal fund.

Special adventure playground

The association has been given 23,375 to fund three specialist sessional workers who will help disabled and able-bodied children play together on a special adventure playground.

Gaby Roslin and a child
Roslin: backed Barnet Play Association
Children In Need has received applications from around 7,000 organisations and has approved payments varying from 98 to 500,000.

Other grants include:

  • 78,395 to Changing Faces, a charity which helps children with facial disfigurements.

  • 8,856 to supply wheelchairs and specialist seating for the Brittle Bone Society.

  • 12,000 to the Sequal Trust, to help with speech therapy.

  • 4,200 to the Children with Aids Charity, to help towards transport costs.

  • 156,250 to NSPCC for help with child sex abuse casework.

  • 112,560 to Women's Aid Federation, to fund work with battered women's children, many of whom have been assaulted as well.

Pudsey bear
Pudsey bear has visited thousands of youngsters
Children In Need is almost unique among charities because administration costs are paid for out of the interest the donations earn in the bank rather than being borne by the public.

Set up in 1927

The fund was set up in 1927 as a radio appeal but really took off in 1980 when it transferred to television and was given a whole evening on BBC ONE.

Each year tens of thousands of people give up their time to raise money in a variety of odd ways.

Many companies encourage their employees to join in - Midland Bank staff raised 500,000 last year - and BBC TV and radio stations from Shetland to the Channel Islands dedicate many hours of broadcasting.

Last year for the first time Children In Need had its own website and next year people will be able to make contributions via the Internet.

Making children smile

Pudsey bear
Pudsey: instantly recognised by most children
Throughout the year Pudsey bear, the Children In Need mascot, travels around the country visiting charities which have benefited and simply making children smile.

Unfortunately there are a handful of fundraisers who take advantage of Pudsey to raise money fraudulently.

Children In Need staff always co-operate with the police and have procedures for checking whether money has been received from people who claim they have donated cash to the appeal.

The Children In Need Spring Special can be seen on BBC One on Sunday at 4.40pm.
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