A GROUP that offers a helping hand to disadvantaged youngsters is fighting through the credit crunch.
Despite drastic funding cuts for charities, Kidsmatta is determined to continue offering educational experiences to under-privileged children across Wearside.
During the next few months, it has got a jam-packed programme in the pipeline.
Paul Tweddle, of Kidsmatta, said: “We’ve been watching similar charities going into liquidation around us and it’s been really tough in the economic crisis.
“For every one grant application that is accepted, there must be 20 to 30 that are knocked back. It’s becoming so difficult.
“The frightening fact is that at the moment it’s the people who need this type of support who will be left out.”
Kidsmatta was launched two years ago by Paul and his wife Brenda, after she completed a degree in childhood studies at Sunderland University.
Their vision was to support youngsters aged five to 19 in Sunderland by offering support services, activities and training.
“Even though it’s been hard, we’ve expanded our sessions this summer and there are a lot of positive things happening,” said Paul, of Ford Estate.
“The Rotary Club has expressed an interest in the work we’re doing and we are working in partnership with The Foundation of Light to deliver a 10-week course next month.”
Other activities on the agenda include a crazy crafts session at the Seaburn Centre on Tuesday, from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
On August 21, youngsters can enjoy a free cookery course at Thorney Close Action and Enterprise Centre, from noon to 1pm, followed by a first aid for kids class, from 1pm to 2pm.
On October 31, Kidsmatta will also be taking youngsters on an five-day adventure trip to Derwent Hill Outdoor Activities Centre.
This is the second time the charity has organised the trip, which caters for girls and boys, aged 11 to 14.
It costs £100, including accommodation, activities, food and transport.
A Halloween party is also being planned.
For more information or to book a place on the courses, phone 07578 407 142.