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Durham University

University and City: Growing together

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Children enjoy free activities programme

(8 March 2019)

We’re currently running a free activities programme for nearly 50 children with limited social opportunities.

The Children Achieving Through Student Support (CATSS) project is open to children from County Durham, aged six to 13, who need the chance to have fun with other children. 

The programme offers young people opportunities to enjoy new experiences and make friends in a safe setting through both day and residential trips.

The activities are organised and run by a dedicated team of 30 student volunteers who are supported by our Volunteering and Outreach staff.

What are children doing?

The 6-11 age group programme includes a Harry Potter-themed day, indoor climbing, a visit to a farm attraction and a camp fire evening.

The 11-13 age group will have opportunities to enjoy bowling, laser tag, kayaking, cycling, cooking, team games, crafts and much more.

One young participant said: “It was amazing last year. I can’t pick which was the best bit. I made loads of new friends and the volunteers are cool. I can’t wait for this year’s CATSS.”

Tell me more…

We started the project back in 1992 and we’re very grateful to have recently been awarded a £27,600 grant from BBC Children in Need. This will cover most of the programme costs for the next three years.

Our thanks to All Saints Church, Newton Hall, which gives us free use of their church hall and runs a fundraising coffee morning each year.

Our 30 student volunteers were chosen from around 100 applicants.

Julian Brandon, co-ordinator of the 6-11 age group, said: “I’ve been involved with CATSS for three years and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The project is filled with happiness and friendship. We’re all here to allow the children to grow in confidence and simply just be kids. It’s been a privilege to meet some very special children.”