How To Find Us

  • Sir James Spence Institute,
    Queen Victoria Road,
    Newcastle upon Tyne,
    NE1 4LP
    United Kingdom

What We Do

Making Serious Stuff Fun - We focus on improving the health and well-being of children and young people in the North East. So, how do we make a difference to people's lives and how can we help you? For over 30 years we have worked with amazing people in the North East to achieve great things.

How we address need:

We want all North East children and young people to be happy and healthy. We want them to feel loved, respected, feel they have a voice and are heard. We achieve this by focusing on 3 things ;

1. Early Years 

Baby Box Project

Our baby box is all about supporting babies in the North East to have the best start in life. The box has a unique focus on baby development and is packed full of developmentally stimulating books and toys. It includes essentials like a changing mat, bath towel, and first toothbrush to get families started with baby care.

View The Baby Box

2. Mental Health

Story Chair Project

We deliver story telling sessions in the Children’s Outpatients department of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead. Tom our expert story teller attends once a fortnight and reads stories and leads craft activities with children and families waiting for outpatient’s appointments or attending regular clinics. These activities help to distract the children, reducing any boredom or anxiety they may be feeling. This not only helps the families but also the medical staff, as carrying out any necessary tests and checks are much easier when the children are calm and relaxed.

Parents say

Tom was amazing with my daughter. He made us feel very welcome. He has fantastic energy and is very friendly

Children Say

‘I have had a fantastic time’ Blake Age 7


Children's Community Allotment

Our Children’s community allotment is made up of two plots at Coxlodge allotments in Fawdon. We run 3 projects from the allotment

Weekly Drop in sessions

These sessions are relaxed drop in sessions for children and young people. Activities are child led and cover a range of gardening and craft activities. These sessions run from Early April to the end of October

Roots to Health and Happiness

This 7 week course is aimed at children and young people aged 12 – 18 who are experiencing anxiety or other mental health concerns which are affecting their school attendance. The sessions are staffed by youth workers and a therapeutic play worker and use a combination of gardening and craft actives as well as reflective practice work. The aim is to first help the young people to relax and feel comfortable and gel together as a group. Once they are comfortable we work towards enabling the participants to work out what their barriers are to being in school and to either overcome them or to identify accommodations or support which would enable them to return to more regularly attending school.

Roots to Health

This project delivers a level one Practical Horticulture qualification from City and Guilds. We work with a range of young people for this project. Some of our cohorts are from Special Education settings where access to practical qualifications is a welcome addition to the more traditional curriculum. We also work with young people who may be away from education for a range of reasons. We can work with 8 young people per cohort.

Fuzzy Subjects!

Mental health workshops in primary schools using fuzzy puppets as a tool to engage children and young people in the subject of mental health and well-being, increasing awareness, understanding and resilience in young people.


3. Physical Health 

Couch to 2k

Couch to 2k – is our new pilot project improving young people’s fitness, health and well-being. Referrals come via Paediatricians at The Great North Children’s Hospital. Our Youth Workers then support young people to run 3 times per week in Leazes Park Newcastle, building up to a timed 2K at the end of 4 weeks. To encourage participation and remove barriers for young people to get involved, each young person receives an e- voucher to purchase sports clothes, trainers etc. and they also receive a basic fit-bit watch and Children’s Foundation water bottle.