A newspaper clipping about Children's Hopes and Dreams Witton Gilbert organization

Children’s Hopes and Dreams village group

This is a Witton Gilbert fund-raising organization which supports lots of community and charity activities for children in the village and further afield.

Some of the activities for summer 2024:

  • Free football coaching on the field, usually every Wednesday evening through August.
  • A qualified CrossFit trainer puts on four sessions.
  • Supporting the much loved Woodland Wonders children’s holiday sessions with lunches and other support.

According to Jon Reynolds, one of the organizers: “We put a Halloween party and Christmas party on at the club, all free. We also do other things during the year like the pantomime horse race”. The horse race is an annual event since 2021 and the date is to be confirmed.

Jon added: “Last year we put guitar lessons on and supplied the instruments, but that is yet not confirmed for this year.

“We also designed a programme with suicide prevention charity If U Care Share to go into year 5 in Witton Gilbert Primary School for six weeks to prepare the kids for going to the “big” school. This went down really well with the kids and parents so we are raising money to do this again and want it be a yearly thing. This cost us £3,500 for the first year but will only cost us £2,000 moving forward as it is all designed.”

Children’s hopes and dreams was originally set up nearly 30 years ago in memory of a local serviceman, Michael Stephenson, who was in the Royal Marines and died from a heart embolism at the age of 23 years. Here is a story in the Northern Echo.

Since then they have organized a football tournament in his memory for many years and have continued to raise money for different causes, including the primary school, local playgroups and the Treetops children’s ward, at the University Hospital of North Durham.