Children North East is a charity in England that looks to help disadvantaged children living in the area. Known as the Poor Children’s Holiday Association at the time of its formation, the charity’s objective was to help underprivileged children living in Newcastle and Gateshead. One way they did this was by organising trips to the coast, allowing the children a day to escape from the polluted air of the city.

Now, Children North East gives schoolchildren that same opportunity by holding their popular, annual Sandcastle Challenge. This year’s competition saw close to 1500 children turn up to Sandhaven beach in South Shields on Friday 7th July- buckets and spades in hand.

The children, some of whom have never set foot on a beach, arrived in one of the 108 school teams, with the goal of bringing their creative designs to life within the 1 hour time limit. Each school teamed up with one of the event business partners who helped them with their creations inspired by the year’s chosen theme– this year’s theme was ‘North East Inventors’.

Sandcastle Challenge Robertson FM

Robertson Facilities Management acted as the mentoring partner to two schools, Westoe Crown Primary and Mortimer Primary, helping over 110 children in the weeks leading up to the challenge – assisting them in the planning and design of their sandy masterpieces.

Robertson North East was also involved, mentoring St Oswald's Primary and sponsoring the event overall.

Sandcastle Challenge Robertson FM Mortimer Primary

Alex Wells, Robertson Facilities Management, said: “Children North East is a charity close to our hearts. Robertson has sponsored the event for 10 years and on a personal level, it is one I always look forward to. “

We have all been impressed by the preparation the pupils have put in. They have worked really hard. It’s great to see the ideas they had in the classroom being made a reality.

Among the many judges of the challenge were local actor Tim Healy and the Mayor of South Tyneside.

The Robertson team were thrilled to hear that one of their teams from Westoe Crown managed to impress the judges with their take on the Millennium Bridge and were announced as one of the five winning teams. As well as bragging rights, every winning team took home £200 for their school.

Sandcastle Challenge Robertson Facilities Management

Talking about their mentoring partner, Helen Johnson, a teacher at Westoe Crown Primary School commented: “We have taken part in the challenge for over seven years. Robertson FM were brilliant – the theme was excellent and they adapted to changes well.

The Robertson team were hugely supportive on the day. Overall a great day. We’ll definitely be returning.

Taking place one week after the event, the Sandcastle Summer Party was held at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park. Sponsored by Robertson North East, it was attended by all the mentoring business partners to raise money for Children North East.

At the event, Robertson FM was crowned the overall business winner and presented with the sought-after bronze Sandcastle Challenge Trophy. This award is presented every year to the business whose support of their school team at the Sandcastle Challenge goes beyond all expectations.

The money raised at the Sandcastle Summer Party will be used by the charity to further support the North East’s underprivileged children, young people, and families.

Sandcastle challenge award winners


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