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Norfolk charity's fundraising plea to help children

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 January 2011 | UPDATED: 12:21 19 January 2011

A charity is hoping to raise the final £10,000 it needs for a vital service to help children.

A charity is hoping to raise the final £10,000 it needs for a vital service to help children.

Archant © 2011

A city-based charity is just £10,000 shy of its fund-raising target to provide a vital service to help children whose young lives can be destroyed by the addictions of their parents to drink and drugs.

Bosses at charity NORCAS launched the first public appeal in its 32-year-history last October – to raise £50,000 for a new youth service.

The Too Much Too Young appeal came as it was revealed that almost 30,000 children in Norfolk and Suffolk were living with parents who misuse drugs and alcohol.

NORCAS estimates that between 12,000 and 18,000 children in the two counties live in a home where one or both parents abuse alcohol, and up to 9,000 live with one or both parents with a drug problem.

In some cases, children as young as five are being forced to skip school to look after their parents and deal with their sickness.

NORCAS, based in Castle Meadow, does not get statutory funding to support those children, so launched its campaign to raise money for a new service.

The charity said it was delighted with the £40,000 it had raised in just three months, but appealed to the generosity of Norwich people to help raise the final sum needed to make the youth service a reality.

Matt Wilson, head of fund-raising, said: “NORCAS launched its Too Much Too Young appeal to make a difference to the lives of children affected by a family member’s misuse of drugs and alcohol and thanks to an influx of donations since the launch we are already well on our way to hitting our target.

“However, there is still a way to go and we would be very grateful to anyone who can help by donating to the appeal.”

Some of the cash for the project came from a sponsored rough sleep by former head of the army General Lord Sir Richard Dannatt, High Sheriff of Norfolk Charles Barratt and Judge Philip Curl last October.

The service would help those between the ages of seven and 13 who are affected by a family member’s substance misuse.

It would offer support to the children, including one-to-one help, respite breaks, the chance for them to talk about their problems with other children in a similar position and awareness projects in schools.

Mr Wilson said the service was vital to give young children back their childhoods and to prevent them developing drug and alcohol dependency.

He said: “We recognise that children can be affected in a number of ways by the misuse of drugs and alcohol by a family member, including: financial difficulties and early responsibilities, domestic abuse, lack of school attendance, bullying, lack of social activities and role reversal.

“These problems can have various negative consequences for the children, such as low self-esteem and confidence, lack of educational attainment, social exclusion, neglect of health and the risk of developing drug and alcohol problems themselves.”

To make a donation log on to www.toomuchtooyoungappeal.org.uk or call Matt Wilson on 01603 227053.

Is your charity launching a fundraising campaign? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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