NEWS

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PROUD TO SUPPORT RECYKE Y'BIKE

We're really pleased to have been able to help Recyke y'bike with their project to train and support volunteers to refurbish unwanted bikes. The volunteers will all be local, young people or people seeking asylum who will get the opportunity to learn new skills, gain accredited qualifications and contribute to Recyke y'bike's objectives of providing environmental and health benefits.

Sara Newson from Recyke y'bike told us "We are delighted that the Wellbank Foundation has seen the value in Recyke y'bike's work and chosen to fund our supported volunteers project. This funding means that we'll be able to continue to support people who are seeking asylum and want to volunteer whilst their claim is being processed. As people seeking asylum are prevented from working, volunteering enables them to make a contribution whilst making new friends, processing traumatic events and beginning to rebuild their lives.  For young people, supported volunteering gives them the opportunity to gain key skills for work and life. They learn the mechanical skills required to fix a bike but also how to effectively communicate, negotiate and work with others as part of a team. For young people who are struggling in formal education, volunteering provides an alternative pathway to employment. The funding from the Wellbank Foundation will make a real tangible difference to the quality of people's lives."

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TYNE RIVERS TRUST

We're supporting Tyne Rivers Trust with their schools engagement programme for children in Key Stages 1 and 2. We got a great report back from their first session and thought we'd share it ....

We ventured to the River Derwent for a kick sampling session to look for river invertebrates and investigate the health of the river. A 28 strong Year 5 class from Bill Quay Primary school came along with their Assistant Head Teacher and Teaching Assistant, their first school trip since pre-covid and all very keen!


When we arrived at the site after a short walk from the car park, I asked the children what the river was called and as they weren’t sure and hadn’t been before, we talked about the River Derwent and how it is a tributary of the Tyne. After a health and safety talk on how to carry out kick sampling in a safe manner and a discussion about how some river invertebrates are bio indicator species giving us an indication of how healthy a river is by their presence and abundance, we split into groups of 2 or 3 and got kitted out with trays, nets, and ID charts.


We had a chat about lifecycles and food chains, discussing why these creepy crawlies were a vital part of a healthy river system and where they fit in a river ecosystem. Without invertebrates in the river there would be very little else. It was fun thinking about what might eat river invertebrates, although I am not sure that sharks, alligators, or jelly fish live in the River Tyne catchment.

We found all of the invertebrates that we were looking for in our identification guides, lots of cased caddis, caseless caddis, freshwater shrimp, stonefly, and all four types of mayfly. We found some mayfly that had emerged into adult flies and explored their life cycle and how some of them only live for around a day.


We also found an eel, a stone loach and a crayfish, unfortunately this was the invasive American signal crayfish, and it was missing one arm, but this was still very exciting for the children to see. They had no idea that crayfish lived in the river, they all thought they had caught a lobster!

We spent a couple of hours at the river kick sampling and talked about how although this river has a very industrial past and we still have work to do to improve it, the river is healthy enough at the moment to sustain these river invertebrates along with other wildlife. The children stopped at the Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre for a well-deserved ice cream before the bus journey back to school. We will be following on our session with this class after the summer holidays looking at the whole River Tyne catchment, along with other classes from Bill Quay Primary School who will take part in further river visits.

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WECAN ACTIVITY SESSION

WECAN (We Enable Children with Additional Needs) is based in Hexham providing community based support for children and young people with disabilities, additional and complex needs, aged between 6 and 19 to access leisure and social activities.

The children and young people they work with have learning and physical disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, challenging behaviour and other complex needs. They also support children and young people with health care needs such as: specialist feeding requirements, epilepsy, medication needs and personal care.

We were delighted to be able to support their recent outdoor session at Dissington Hall which included sports and dance activities along with the chance to meet "Claire's Cool Creatures"! 

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SUPPORTING SMART WORKS NEWCASTLE

We're proud to have been able to support 5 local charities in our first six months and one of those is Smart Works Newcastle.

Smart Works Newcastle is run by a small service delivery team who are supported by a dedicated team of highly skilled volunteers and trustees who are passionate about supporting women in the region into employment.  They provide interview clothing and confidence coaching to unemployed women with job interviews.  This enables their clients to have the self-belief and practical tools to succeed at interview and start a new chapter of their lives.  Over 65% of the women they support go on to secure a job after visiting us and 95% report that the service had benefited them.  With our funding they hope to support many more women into work and have a long term impact in the region. 

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THE WELLBANK FOUNDATION IS LAUNCHED

We're a brand new grant-making charity for the North East of England. As we support charities across the region we'll provide updates here of the great work they've done.