HEY CU Shortlisted for the HEYPIBA21 Team Impact Award

The Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University team are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Team Impact award at this year’s Hull and East Yorkshire People In Business Awards (HEYPIBA) for our work during the pandemic.

Lockdown brought major concern for the welfare and safety of vulnerable or disadvantaged children. We were inundated with calls for help for thousands of children whose circumstances do not meet the threshold for social services intervention but who are vulnerable and would be greatly impacted by school closures. In addition, there were concerns for children of key workers who were showing signs of emotional stress because parents where at the front line. So, we redesigned our services to respond to the crisis and set about putting together educational resource packs including books and games to support learning, paper, pencils, crayons, and games which were then hand delivered by our volunteers to thousands of children who are at risk.

Over the past 12 months we have secured, packed, and delivered –

  • 2,266 educational packs to children in KS2 who were falling behind in education and were unlikely to have learning materials at home because of household poverty.
  • 3094 wellbeing packs to children in KS2 to support their mental health and wellbeing including children of key workers such as nurses who were showing signs of worrying about their parents who were on the front line. These packs were designed to support their emotional resilience.
  • 1,182 Letter Box parcels to children in KS1 to support their education and development.
  • Hundreds of food parcels at Christmas to families living in poverty.

So, whilst this is not what we normally do, working with dozens of volunteers, we received, packed, and delivered over 6,500 educational and emotional support packs to children across Hull and the East Riding. This included over 45,794 individual books, games, learning materials and resources which without HEY Children’s University, would never have been purchased and delivered.

And then we went into a third lockdown in January with all children sent home for months with a national outcry about disadvantaged children who do not have access to online school learning resources because of a lack of IT and access to the internet.

We took up the mantel again after cries for help for 850 children in Hull and launched a campaign to harness the spirit of the community to help. Through the campaign we secured all 850 devices through grants, donations from the public both of cash but also donations of devices and from business. We raised £62,000 in six weeks to help with this, and all 850 children were given brand new or cleaned and reconditions devices and over 100 children also received dongles to give them internet connection. Volunteers drove all over the city collecting the devices, delivering them to the IT company and then delivering them to children.

We have kept thousands of children safe, engaged, fed, and learning during lockdown despite not being able to deliver our usual programme of experiences.

The HEYPIBA awards will take place virtually on the 9th July. Wish us luck!



Northern Gas Networks and HEY Children’s University take their partnership on the road!

Van design created by BENDOWSON.COM

Hull and East Yorkshire (HEY) Children’s University and Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributor for the North of England, have teamed up on an exciting new project which will help inspire a love of reading for children living in care
HEY Children’s University is a charity that aims to raise the aspirations, self esteem and resilience of disadvantaged children. The charity works with more than  7,000 children a year, providing them with experiences and interventions which they otherwise wouldn’t have access to, such as supported reading.
Northern Gas Networks (NGN) has been one of the charity’s Platinum corporate partners for the past seven years and has been instrumental in helping the charity to grow over the years and reach a greater number of children.
HEY Children’s University applied to NGN  for a grant from the energy industry regulator Ofgem’s  Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance with a proposal to fund a reading camper van. The idea is that the van would be able to solve the issue of reading space in some schools being limited to one-to-one sessions. HEY Children’s University delivers a reading intervention programme called the Letterbox Club in which children in care receive a monthly letterbox parcel filled with books.
The HEY Children’s University Letterbox Tutors visit the children at their school and hold reading sessions with the children to help them to progress and develop a love of reading. The tutors work specifically with looked after children in year groups 3 to 7 and visit them on a weekly basis. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a quiet spot to sit and read inside school when there are many distractions, so the van (kitted out as a perfect “reading corner”) provides a space to do this. The children can even choose to read outside the van on one of the beanbags!
Natasha Barley, Director of HEY Children’s University, said: “We have such an amazing partnership with NGN.
“NGN identified that literacy and employability were key issues to address in Hull and the East Riding. The reading van will help us ensure that children in care are able to access their reading sessions. The sessions take place for up to three years and children finish the programme at expected reading age or above which in turn helps them to achieve academically and go on to gain qualifications and employment. It’s also very important for children to be educated about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the sessions delivered in schools across Hull and the East Riding will ensure that children are educated about this important issue. We’re very excited about this new initiative and look forward to seeing the van in action changing lives.”
The van will also be used for HEY Children’s University to deliver carbon monoxide awareness sessions in schools. NGN supplies gas to 2.7 million homes across the North of England, and ensuring children and their families stay safe and know about the dangers of carbon monoxide is one of their key priorities. The HEY Children’s University tutors will travel around Hull and the East Riding to deliver these important sessions to schools.
Jill Walker, Social Strategy Project Manager at Northern Gas Networks, said: “NGN colleagues live and work in the communities that we serve, and it is important to us that we make a positive contribution to those communities. We work with our community partners, including HEY Children’s University, to support charities and volunteers who are making a difference. Literacy skills are an important building block for achievement in later life, so it’s great to see such a fantastic project as the reading van coming to life; especially after a year when it has been difficult for some of our most disadvantaged children to access educational support.”
HEY Children’s University and NGN hope to have the van on the road by the autumn, for the start of the new school year.

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