Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 17:08 UK

Where does Children in Need money go?

TJ from Bishop's Hatfield Girls School and Joanne from Woodfield School (photo by Audrey, 13, from Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School)
Presenter TJ puts down her microphone to play with Joanne

BBC Children in Need has announced the award of £14.8m in grants to 422 projects which will have a direct impact on the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

This spring allocation is the first of three rounds of grants that will be made this year, and will reach more than 96,000 children across the UK.

Last year, School Reporters from two schools in Hertfordshire reported on the allocation of grants in their area.

Five students from Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School visited students with severe learning difficulties in Hemel Hempstead who benefited from a grant, while eight pupils from Simon Balle School in Hertford interviewed the man behind Children in Need.

Samira, TJ, Ella, Audrey, all 13, and Dulcie, 12, from Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School interviewed staff and students at Woodfield School to find out how the £6211, awarded to their after school club, would benefit children aged between five and 19.

Gopal, who attends the club, told them: "I like coming here to kick the ball and run around."

Deputy head teacher Beverley Hamilton explained the origins of the club, which has been running for seven years. She said: "We received feedback from parents and some of the older students that brothers and sisters were able to go out to youth clubs and have tea at friends' houses while our children with severe learning difficulties didn't have the same opportunity, so we decided to set up a club up of our own."

She added that the "essential" grant money would pay for staff wages as well as new toys, games and equipment, "so that students will want to come to the club".

In order to find out more about Children in Need, Catherine, Charlotte, Laura, Juliette, Kate, Libby, Paddy and Ed from Simon Balle School e-mailed some challenging questions to the charity's Chief Executive Officer, David Ramsden.

CHILDREN IN NEED 2008
Catherine, Libby, Charlotte and Kate from Simon Balle School
£36m raised since November
£20m distributed around UK in April
832 projects awarded
Average grant: £23,916

They discovered that he took part in a sponsored abseil from the roof of the BBC Television Centre, and that if asked to appear on Strictly Come Dancing, his choice of partner would be Flavia.

"I think the judges would say: 'That was more Pudsey Bear than Fred Astaire - stick to the day job!'," he added.

Here is the rest of the interview:

What does a CEO do?

I am responsible for ensuring that the charity has a clear plan for what it wants to achieve and then making sure that we deliver it. The most important part of this is supporting our fundraisers and the projects that we fund to make a real difference to children's lives.

What was it like growing up in Nottinghamshire? Do you have a particular interest in Children in Need's work in the area you grew up in?

Nottinghamshire was a good place to grow up. I come from a large family - my parents had six children - and we lived in the same house from when I was four until I left home. I think that gave me a real sense of safety and security and helped me deal with the inevitable ups and downs of growing up. I do always look out for the grants made in Nottinghamshire and I am proud that we get great support for BBC Children in Need from across the East Midlands.

You worked for the Red Cross, but before that, had a career in politics and finance. What prompted you to work with charity organisations?

After doing a few jobs, I realised that it was really important to me to do a job that I felt made a difference to other people's lives. I have been really lucky to find a job that I love.

Children in Need has a range of high profile corporate sponsors. What makes a good corporate sponsor?

By far the most important source of our income is from fundraisers who organise events - but companies are really useful for making people know the appeal is happening and giving another opportunity to support us. A good company to work with is one that has a good reputation and that operates across the UK.

Laura from Simon Balle School
Laura researches Children in Need before writing her questions

Children in Need raised a record-breaking £36million. Can you go on breaking records in fund-raising?

Each year we hope to do better, but every pound we raise helps us make a difference. I hope that we can continue to raise more as I know each year that there are some great projects that we do not have enough money to fund.

Children in Need highlights lots of children's individual stories with all sorts of different problems and difficulties. Is there one that has particularly touched or interested you and why?

I am moved by lots of projects that we fund, particularly when I meet the children and young people who have benefited from our funding. I am really interesting in projects that fully involve children and young people in running them.

Who chooses how the money raised is shared out, and does it all go to charity?

For every pound we are given, we give a pound to a project working with disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. Projects apply to us and we then talk to them to assess how giving them the money will really make a difference. These assessments are considered by committees in each part of the country, that make recommendations to our trustees, who then make the final decisions. It is hard as each year we are asked to fund far more than we are able to.

Pudsey bear
David Ramsden reveals the Pudsey digitising dilemma

Do you prefer the old-style or new-look Pudsey Bear?

We thought long and hard before we changed him but I think the new Pudsey is great. He looks like he is having more fun than before and I think that is a really important message to give out.



video and audio news
Students' report on club grant



SEE ALSO
Reporting Children in Need
24 Oct 11 |  School Report

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