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Red Balloon marks four years in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 06:44 07 April 2011

Red Balloon celebrates 4th anniversary in Norwich. The charity helps children who are unable to stay in mainstream school due to severe bullying.

Red Balloon celebrates 4th anniversary in Norwich. The charity helps children who are unable to stay in mainstream school due to severe bullying.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

A rallying call has been made for funds to be raised to help severely bullied children as a city-based charity marks its fourth anniversary.

The plea came as Red Balloon Learner Centre Norwich, which helps recover children who are unable to stay in mainstream education due to bullying, celebrated its fourth year at its base in Earlham Road, just outside the city centre, yesterday.

The learner centre first opened its doors in April 2007 at St Barnabas Church in Russell Street, just off Heigham Street, before moving to its current location 18 months ago.

Over the past four years, more than 100 Norfolk children have attended the learner centre which provides education with therapeutic programmes and supports children back to school, college or employment.

The charity needs to plug a £60,000 gap in funding by September this year.

BBC Look East’s Julie Reinger, who has just become the charity’s first patron, said: “I was very badly bullied at school and I know only too well the devastating effects bullying can have on your life.

“Red Balloon really gives young people their lives back. It’s really vital that the good work continues. Hopefully, I can do my bit to help make that happen.”

To mark its fourth anniversary, businesses got the chance to find out more about the charity and an appeal, “Four ways to support Red Balloon in its fourth year”, was launched.

Youngsters at the centre, who attend during school hours Monday to Friday, also released a dozen red balloons, each with their own wish. Wishes included “to be happy” and “to do well in life”.

Becky, 14, who has been educated at the centre for 18 months, said: “The centre has helped me become more confident, has increased my self-esteem and has helped me a lot with my learning.”

To help raise funds for Red Balloon, call Dan Kelly, chairman of trustees, on 01603 622288 or email mail@dankelly.co.uk

Are you part of a project to help children? Call Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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