Children on the Edge is a Chichester based charity that works to support some of the worlds' most marginalised children, living in some of the toughest situations.
The charity was co-founded in 1990 by Bishop Luffa graduate and Chichester resident, Rachel Bentley and the late Dame Anita Roddick.
After witnessing the appalling conditions in Romanian orphanages first hand, Dame Anita Roddick mobilised her company, The Body Shop International, based in Littlehampton, to help.
The Body Shop, sent supplies and a small group of volunteers, to help three orphanages in the remote village of Halaucesti. Rachel Bentley, a 23-year-old law graduate from Chichester, was one of these volunteers, and together, they sparked the response that created Children on the Edge, which exists to this day to support some of the most marginalised children around the world.
By 1992, Rachel Bentley and Anita Roddick started the charity, Children on the Edge in an official capacity, together with The Body Shop. By this time, they had developed considerable expertise in working with institutionalised children in Eastern Europe, working through local partners, and coordinating all their work from offices in Chichester.
The charity is grateful for the incredible generosity and long term support of The Body Shop and other local Chichester businesses, including Montezuma's, Store Property, Wiley and many others over the years, who have made an incredible difference and made much of our work possible.
Children on the Edge is also supported by a faithful community of supporters in West Sussex and beyond. Local schools, churches, individuals and organisations as well as consultants from The Body Shop At Home, have raised thousands of pounds to support our work with marginalised children around the world.
Our historic flagship fundraising event, the Chichester Half Marathon was brilliantly supported by the Chichester community during the years that we were involved (up to 2019), and the event raised tens of thousands of pounds for our vital work around the world. The event is now run by Everyone Active.
Help a refugee child learn and play
Our generous friends at Montezuma’s have donated bars of their beautiful chocolate so that you can give two gifts in one. For a donation of £5 or more, you a will receive a Children on the Edge gift card packaged with a delicious 100g bar of Montezuma’s Chocolate*.
When you buy this charity gift to give away, you can help provide education for child in a refugee camp, helping them have a safe space to learn and play. Perfect for a stocking filler or a secret santa gift.
Over £4,000 of this was raised by a fantastic group of 27 runners who were all part of this year’s Run for Refugees Team. All 27 team members committed to raise a minimum of £100 each for our work with refugee children in Bangladesh and Lebanon.
Mother and daughter team, Michele and Tiki (pictured above) were part of these fundraising efforts and talked to us about how they got support in the run up to the race. On the day they were kitted out in their ‘Run for Refugees’ t-shirts, complete with matching tutus.
Here are some of Tiki’s comments describing their experience of this year’s Chichester Half:
“I was really quite nervous on the morning of the race, training in the last couple weeks had done a bit awry as I had been unwell…Mum was also a bit nervous as she knew what was ahead of us having completed last years race as well!
The pre run warm up was really good fun, gave us a giggle and got us warm and ready to go. Then it was onto the line up, where we chatted to a lovely lady and then we were off. The first part through town was slow as planned, saving our legs for the hill. We had our pace aims which I had plotted for us and we were on target as we started to climb, from here on out we ran our own races, just because I happened to be going slightly faster than mum.
We both felt great when we got to the top of the Trundle, we managed it better than our training run! The second half of the race for me was mentally challenging, I was starting to feel tired and I tripped over my own feet at one point which was annoying but my husband managed to text me at just the right time and I ran the last mile and a half feeling strong and happy.
Mum came in just after me with a big smile on her face and feeling great. She knocked 10 minutes off last year’s time and felt she still had a bit in her. We got our times from the machine straight away which is lovely, as I called my hubby and he was super proud of me. Then we went over to the VIP tent (a perk for Run for Refugees runners!) to enjoy the snacking delights Children on the Edge had lined up for runners - nice touch!
The support we received from Children on the Edge was amazing and really helped to make the whole experience more fun and meaningful. We’ve both done events for other charities, with much larger fundraising targets, and not felt nearly as supported or as valued as everyone has made us feel running for you so thank you all.”
The event has been growing year-on-year and we were delighted to have a record 1160 runners register for this year's race in one of three popular events - the Half Marathon, Ten Miler and Team Relay.
Organised in conjunction with Everyone Active, the event is one of our key fundraising events throughout the year. It is only made possible thanks to the support of our local sponsors; Montezuma’s Chocolates and Store Property who have generously supported the event each year since is was revived in 2012.
The race has become a popular date in the diary for runners across the South, especially with our challenging multi-terrain course over the Downs taking in the Trundle and Centurion Way.
Ben Wilkes, UK Director at Children on the Edge said:
“This year's race raised a record £33,294, which will make a huge difference to our work with vulnerable children. We are grateful to all our runners, sponsors and supporters who make the event possible and we continue to be blown away by the support we receive from the local community. It’s great to see the event growing year on year and we look forward to next year's race on Sunday 7th October!"
Children on the Edge would like to thank local businesses Chichester College, Covers, Evans Weir, Gnarly Tree, Harries Coffee, Krowmark Workwear, Natures Way Foods, The Run Company, South Downs Water and Wiley for all their support to make the event happen. We couldn't do it without them.
Along with our regular runners, we also had a fantastic team of runners all raising money for Children on the Edge as part of our Run for Refugees Team. Our 25 fundraisers raised an incredible £7,096 for our work with refugee children in Bangladesh and Lebanon. This included, Mrs Salmond Smith, Mr Bromfield & Mr Brittain, teachers from Prebendal School in Chichester, who took part in the Team Relay and raised £255.
Nicky Hellard has volunteered at the Chichester Half Marathon for the past two years and this year decided to run instead. She didn't believe she could finish the race; but took on the challenge, trained hard and built her confidence each week with longer runs, raising £322 in the process.
When asked what she'd say to someone else thinking about fundraising for Children on the Edge she said:
"It is a great charity that does wonderful work right in the front line with the most vulnerable and overlooked children in the world. As charities go they are one of the best, the staff are dedicated and the overheads are extremely low".
We are enormously grateful to everyone who took part, raised money, or supported the event as a volunteer or spectator. We can't wait to see you again next year!
Do you want to take on a challenge for Children on the Edge? Find out how.
Volunteering with Children on the Edge is a great way to support real and lasting change to the lives of vulnerable children. If you're looking for a career change, or a are a student or graduate who would like to get into International Development, then this volunteer role is a perfect opportunity to gain some valuable hands-on experience in the sector. Our own staff know only too well, that this type of experience can make a huge difference when applying for jobs with NGOs in the UK or abroad. As a small organisation, you will get the chance to really get 'stuck in' with our work, and understand what we do and how we do it.
As Trusts and Foundations volunteer, you will spend time researching trusts, foundations and any other potential funding opportunities for Children on the Edge, from within the UK, Europe and internationally. You will be directly supporting our Grants Officer, Sarah, who makes applications to funders, reports on all our projects around the world and brings in vital funding for our work. By supporting Sarah, you will be making a direct difference to the lives of vulnerable children around the world and helping to ensure our projects are successfully funded.
As part of the role, you will develop an in depth understanding of Children on the Edge and our work around the world and for the right person, there is scope to write small funding applications and project reports.
You can find out more about the role and exactly what's involved in the Role Description.
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for an organised, methodical and enthusiastic individual, educated to A-level standard or higher. You'll need to have a basic understanding of, and an interest in the work of Children on the Edge, International Development and fundraising.. With excellent written and verbal communication skills, attention to detail and a proficiency in Word/Pages, Excel/Numbers and internet search engines, you'll be able to organise your work and use your own initiative and nouse to research potential funding opportunities. We'd love you to have an understanding of and some experience in using databases (e.g. Salesforce), but we can show you the ropes if not.
We'll provide plenty of support to get you started; and our lovely team in Chichester are great at making tea and providing biscuits to keep you sustained while you're with us. Our two office dogs, Otto and Monty will also make you feel welcome, especially around lunch time!
The nitty gritty
If you are interested in this role, please send a copy of your CV and a cover letter outlining how you fit the qualities and skills outlined in the role description before midday on 9th June 2017 to:
Sarah Collinson, Grants Officer: email@example.com
- Trusts and Foundations Research Volunteer
- 1 day per week, 3-6 months
- Application deadline: Midday 9th June 2017
- Interviews held: 19th June 2017
- Download the Role Description
If you'd an informal chat about the role, or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or email Sarah Collinson on 01243 538530 | firstname.lastname@example.org
We really value our strong links with our local supporters and organisations (as well as our non-local supporters too, of course!). Unlike some larger charities, we can offer a unique and direct link between you and the projects we run with our partners around the world. For example, last September, Nuna Matar who leads our work in Lebanon visited Chichester from Beirut to update local supporters on how their support and fundraising efforts were providing education for hundreds of Syrian refugee children in the refugee camps in Bekaa Valley.
This week, our International Director, Rachel Bentley spoke at the city Cathedral’s AGM to give the people of Chichester an opportunity to find out more about our work and how they can play a bigger part in supporting our projects abroad.
Chichester Cathedral Spokeswoman, Ruth Poyner, said:
"We are delighted that Rachel Bentley is spoke about the work of Children on the Edge at our AGM this week. The charity works to support vulnerable children all across the world – and sometimes in less well-known areas. Their important work supports these unseen children who are often living in truly desperate circumstances. Children on the Edge is a local charity with a long reach – offering the people of Chichester a way to directly support these vulnerable children overseas."
We currently work with children in Uganda, India, Burma (Myanmar), Lebanon and Bangladesh. At the Cathedral, Rachel highlighted our project in Lebanon, where we have set up five tent schools, providing education in safe spaces for 500 Syrian refugee children living in the camps of Bekaa Valley. Our partners in Lebanon are currently also making trips across the border to deliver supplies; food, fuel and blankets to 160 displaced Syrian families in Damascus.
Our work in Lebanon, supporting Syrian refugees has generated an incredible level of support from Chichester Churches Together, and other local people. For example. enough money was raised last year in Chichester to fund an additional tent school in Lebanon, and a local group of families have also recently committed to raise £40 a month to support a Syrian family with food and fuel.
We're pleased that this project has resonated locally, and would love more people to support our work to help Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and displaced families within Syria.
As our Director, Rachel says:
"A lot of the media’s attention is on Syrian refugees in Europe, but the majority of those fleeing the conflict in Syria are residing on the borders in countries like Lebanon; where refugees make up a quarter of the population. It is here that Children on the Edge are focussing our efforts, providing education and trauma care for children who have known nothing but war their whole lives. Local people can help to directly support this project by making a donation to Children on the Edge.
Children on the Edge are proud to be able to represent Chichester in our work around the world, and welcome any support from local individuals, organisations and business.
Find out how you can support us, through volunteering, fundraising or via your school, church or workplace, or contact Amy Rook, our Fundraising Officer on 01243 538530.
Emily Dadson, Events organiser at Children on the Edge said “We can’t say thank you enough to everyone involved for giving their time, energy and talent to make ‘Spotlight on the Edge’ a reality. Both on stage and behind the scenes, so many people came together for one purpose, resulting in a fantastic show and an amazing amount raised for our work”.
The show was held on Sunday 24th of January, as part of the Chichester Festival Theatre’s Winter Season and all proceeds went to the work of Children on the Edge.
The evening consisted of a colourful array of music, song and dance by some of the most talented children in our locality, coming together to make a difference to children globally.
The one-off cast of gifted local young people includes Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, Dance Innovation, Arabesque School of Performing Arts, West Sussex Music, The Pop Up Club and Chichester Music Academy, with performances in the foyer by Il Campane of Rebecca Cooke Singing.
Nick Davidson, Head of Chichester Music Academy, says: “Spotlight on the Edge offered golden opportunity for young musicians and singer-songwriters to perform in an acclaimed venue. I’d like to thank the theatre’s creative director Angela Watkins, as well as Children on the Edge’s Emily Dadson and, of course, the theatre itself - we’re so pleased to have taken part in something that’s raised over £10,000 for such a fantastic cause. Roll on next year’s event!”
Opening with a dramatic performance of Ravel’s Bolero by the West Sussex Music Spotlight Orchestra, Act One included a colourful excerpt from ‘A Chorus Line’ by the Arabesque School of Performing Arts, a stirring rendition of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by local band ‘The Traits’ and an ‘On Pointe’ sequence by young members of Dance Industry.
The audience were then treated to a colourful dance piece entitled ‘Hope, Life, Colour, Fun - Dance!’ by CFYT Dance, which really bought out the theme of the show, and expressed ways in which young people in the UK can make a difference internationally.
Next came a welcome reminder of CFYT’s heart-warming Christmas show, ‘A Christmas Carol’, performed by members of the original cast. The first half then closed with a moving performance of Bui Do from ‘Miss Saigon’ by CFYT members past and present, joined by members of the Big Little Youth Theatre. The creativity continued throughout interval, with a beautiful recital in the foyer by Il Campane of Rebecca Cooke Singing.
Act 2 launched with a touching performance of John Rutter’s ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ by the Spotlight Orchestra followed by a thought-provoking reflection on bullying in the shape of ‘Right Here, Right Now’ by The Pop Up Club. After Dance Industry’s dazzling ‘In Motion’, the audience enjoyed ‘Three’ sung by CMA’s Anna Foye and danced by Imogen Bailey and Nikki Skinner from the Arabesque School of Performing Arts. This contrasted with the next rousing Rock Medley by the Chichester Music Academy Choir.
The buzz continued to the end with a dramatic interpretation of Bohemian Rhapsody by the Arabesque School of Performing Arts and Kodaline’s plaintive ‘All I Want’, sung by widely-acclaimed local singer-songwriter Isaac Waddington, under the auspices of Chichester Music Academy.
Most memorable, was the spectacular full-company finale performance of Footloose, sung and danced through the auditorium by a sea of young people in brightly coloured Children on the Edge t-shirts and accompanied by a well-deserved standing ovation.
Denise Patterson - High Sheriff of West Sussex who attended the event said of the show: "It was certainly a show to remember. Talent and commitment shone from the young performers and what a splendid way to showcase Children on the Edge. Forgotten children in forgotten places, a statement that could not have been so sharply contrasted by such a wonderful evening at the Festival Theatre. Neither such thoughts I'm sure will be forgotten by the audience last night"
Child Protection Team
Early Childhood Development
Kyaka II Uganda
The Body Shop At Home