It’s that time of year again when Pudsey Bear takes centre stage and this year his message to everyone across Northern Ireland is ‘Together, We Can’… help make a big difference.
This Friday (November 19) sees the annual BBC Children in Need Appeal come to BBC One Northern Ireland from 7pm.
This year the show will once again come live from London presented by Graham Norton, Mel Giedroyc, Ade Adepitan MBE, Alex Scott MBE, and Chris Ramsey, with Connor Phillips and Holly Hamilton bringing an update from Northern Ireland during the night.
Across the week in the run-up to and after the big night on BBC Radio Ulster The Lynette Fay Show, The John Toal Show and Vinny Hurrell will be talking to fundraisers and organisations benefitting directly from the support of BBC Children in Need.
Today (Thursday, November 18) Connor will travel to the North West to Ardnashee School and College and The Playtrail in Londonderry to take part in their ramble to raise money for Children in Need, meeting other local organisations and fundraisers as he does so.
On the big day itself, Friday, Connor and the radio team travel to the South Lake Leisure Centre in Craigavon to join the IncredABLE staff and help rack up the miles at their spinathon fundraiser during his show from 10.30-noon, before Hugo Duncan takes over at 1.30pm with a special programme packed full of live music and requests from Studio A in BBC Blackstaff, Belfast.
Up in BBC Radio Foyle, The Mark Patterson Show will be hosting a Children in Need special from 1.30pm when listeners will hear from fundraisers and local people who have benefitted from their efforts.
And on Sunday, November 21, Holly Hamilton and Connor Phillips will present Children in Need Best Bits on BBC One Northern Ireland at 3.50pm.
Joined by Pudsey, CBeebies’ Gyasi Sheppy and actor Michelle Fairley, viewers find out more about the organisations that make such a difference in our communities and the fundraising that makes it all possible.
Gyasi will be meeting just some of the incredible fundraisers across Northern Ireland who are taking part in their own activities to help make a difference to our local communities, while Michelle travels to Culmore to meet a theatre group that is helping young people be the best they can be.
Among those to be featured will be Youth Life, a project recognising that children and young people impacted by bereavement can experience loss of confidence and self-identity and face social and educational barriers, and provide art therapy, professional and peer support to local young people in Derry.
The three year main grant (2020-2023) of £98,100 funds the salary of a project coordinator, sessional staff costs, training and travel, volunteer expenses and administrative support costs.
Also featuring will be Stage Beyond Theatre Club. This inclusive project provides life skills workshops, including drama, theatre, film and self-expression for young people in Derry.
Participants benefit from improved communication skills, develop positive relationships and reduce social isolation.
The three year small grant (2019-2022) of £30,000 funds the staffing costs for six facilitators as well as project support costs, including props, costumes and art supplies.
Greenisland Bears Football Club in Carrickfergus is a project providing sport and healthy eating sessions to improve physical and mental health, developing confidence and increased essential skills for children with disabilities in County Antrim.
The three year small grant (2021-2024) of £26,400 funds a part-time Development Officer, sports equipment, pitch hire and health food costs.
Holly says: “I absolutely love BBC Children In Need and am thrilled to be part of it again this year alongside Connor.
“Please, please do what you can to help us raise lots of money for this year’s appeal, as your donations really do make a huge difference to the lives of many children and young people right here in Northern Ireland.”
Connor says: “It’s always great to be working with Holly, and I am looking forward to meeting some of the many people who have been busy fundraising helping to raise loads of money for this year’s BBC Children In Need.”
Last year’s national on the night total was £37,032,789 and the overall fundraising total for the 2020 appeal was £57 million.
Here in Northern Ireland the appeal currently funds 170 projects to a value of £8.6 million.
Further information on BBC Children in Need and how to get involved can be found at bbc.co.uk/pudsey