Made in Chelsea star visits Big Red Bus Club for BBC’s Children in Need

Binky Felstead joined in storytelling activities

Made in Chelsea star Binky Felstead has visited The Big Red Bus Club in Charlton Park to launch a campaign ahead of the BBC’s annual Children In Need appeal.

Children In Need funds the club’s Play Plus project, which allows parents and children under five with special educational needs to take part in music and art activities.

Felstead joined in with storytelling and sensory play to launch the Power of Play campaign, which aims to help children in every community in the UK have somewhere safe to play so they can develop their skills.

She said: “I had such a fantastic time at the project. It was brilliant to meet with the project workers, the parents and their children and to see how much they enjoyed the play activities was incredibly special.”

The Power of Play campaign is being held with Asda, where customers will be able to pick up free “play passes” which children will be able to ‘’trade in” with an adult for 30 minutes of play. Each of the play passes offers a different play activity, and will help children to learn a variety of life skills, such as teamwork, patience and resilience, that will aid their development.

Steph Brett-Lee, Asda’s senior director of community and corporate affairs, said: “At Asda we are so pleased that our Power of Play campaign with BBC Children in Need will help to provide even more play opportunities, just like this one, across the UK.

“It’s fantastic to see how the money raised helps support groups like the Big Red Bus Club to fund their Play Plus project which gives children a place where they can enjoy inclusive play activities and make new friends. It’s clear to see how much that this is valued and enjoyed by the children and their parents.”

This year’s Children In Need appeal is on Friday 15 November; shoppers can find out more about Power of Play at


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Hill-climbing kids complete 100km cycling challenge for Big Red Bus Club

Daisy and Anatoliy
Would you cycle up Frances Street after riding through Kent and Essex? Daisy and Anatoliy did

Two local 12-year-olds cycled 100 kilometres through London, Kent and Essex at the weekend to raise money for The Big Red Bus Club, the family wellbeing charity based in Charlton Park.

Daisy and Anatoliy, who met as three-year olds at one of the club’s free family stay and play sessions, cycled solidly for almost eight hours – and were inspired to take on the challenge after supporting adult cyclists who have completed the same charity ride in previous years.

They cycled for eight hours on Saturday, beginning and ending at the Big Red Bus Club, including the hills and crossing the river at the Woolwich and Tilbury ferries. Daisy and Anatoliy are trying to raise £1,750 for the charity.

Daisy and Anatoliy both almost a decade ago and were inspired to take on the mammoth cycle challenge after supporting the adult cyclists who have completed this charity ride in previous years.

Daisy and Anatoliy on the ferry

Daisy said: “The best moment was the feeling of getting up Frances Street, the very last hill, and knowing at the top I was going onto the home stretch and I was going to do it. The worst moments were going up hills when I got a feeling in my legs that I couldn’t keep going, but I am so happy that I kept on and competed the whole ride.

“The Big Red Bus Club has been a part of my life since I was so little, I love walking past and seeing the new little children playing.”

Anatoliy said: “The best bit of the day was at 20 miles sitting down and having a hot chocolate on the Tilbury ferry. I can’t wait for next year.”

The Big Red Bus Club is open weekday afternoons for free stay-and-play for under-fives, run by volunteers.

To donate to Daisy and Anatoliy’s appeal, visit


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Ward Budgets are back: £30,000 to spend on community projects in Charlton

Story telling at Big Red Bus Club Play Plus in Charlton
Story telling at Big Red Bus Club’s Play Plus scheme, which as benefited from ward budget funding previously

Greenwich Council’s ward budget scheme has reopened, with £30,000 available to each council ward over the next four years. The scheme is intended to fund community initiatives such as community and social schemes, environmental issues and well-being and health projects, with ideas being proposed by residents and community groups then approved by ward councillors.

Funds were made available to a range of schemes in the last round, including an air quality monitoring project, a campaign against cold callers, a primary school’s sensory garden, and the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival – read more about the schemes funded in the last budget round here.

Annie Keys of the Big Red Bus Club, which has received funding for specialist play equipment for disabled children amongst other projects, told The Charlton Champion: Big Red Bus Club has been incredibly fortunate to be supported through Charlton’s ward budget scheme. It’s been great to help us try out new ideas and projects that local families have wanted to see happen in Charlton. A perfect example is Play Plus; £750 helped us to buy sensory play equipment for children who have additional needs.

That little bit of funding three years ago led to a whole programme of support for local SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabled) under-fives and their families. Now, Play Plus has three years of funding from Children in Need, for a specialist support worker, a programme of community arts and every Monday a whole day of targeted activities including Makaton story telling.

Our local Charlton councillors have also supported Large and Legging It our running group for women over 30BMI, and this year a new project aimed at families that could benefit from English as a Second Language (ESOL) support with their under fives. If any community groups want to come along and have a chat about how our projects have benefitted, we would be happy to share experiences. Get in touch by email at party [@]”

Greenwich Council says that Ward Budget funding should support initiatives that:

  • promote the well-being of the community and which are developed in response to local priorities and/or to meet a need identified from within the ward
  • look to provide additional funding where community groups are already making efforts to raise funds to support the project
  • are developed and monitored by local councillors, making use of their knowledge of local needs and priorities
  • have consensus across a ward or between wards
  • enhance the council’s community leadership role and promote civic pride.

If you have a project idea you think could be funded, contact your local ward councillor.

The Charlton Champion has been covering the ward budgets since they were launched in 2015read more of our ward budget stories here.

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