The Sandcastle Challenge is organised by Children North East, a charity that looks to help disadvantaged children living in Newcastle and Gateshead. Known as the Poor Children’s Holiday Association at the time of its formation, the charity’s objective was to help underprivileged children living in Newcastle and Gateshead. One way they did this was by organising trips to the coast, allowing the children a day to escape from the polluted air of the city.

Now, Children North East gives schoolchildren that same opportunity by holding their popular, annual Sandcastle Challenge. This year’s competition saw close to 1500 children turn up to Sandhaven beach in South Shields on Friday 6th July- buckets and spades in hand.

Last year Robertson Facilities Management were crowned overall business winners of the Sandcastle Challenge 2017, taking home the much-coveted bronze Sandcastle Trophy. This year we returned to Sandhaven Beach with our partner school, Cleadon Church of England Academy, to take part in the annual event.

Sandcastle team

In total there was over 1,500 children, split into 111 school teams, from primary and special schools all over the north east who joined us in South Shields to make the ‘Star Struck – Explore the Cosmos’ theme become a reality.

Prior to the event, we worked with the school to come up with designs for our sandcastles. The children were split into four teams, they all had brilliant ideas, creating detailed drawings, instructions, and a list of required materials.

On the day of the challenge, the atmosphere on the beach was electric, all the children were enthusiastic and put so much effort into their creations. People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judie McCourt and former prize winner, Elizabeth Faulkner, were guest judges and whilst we didn’t win it was a fantastic day for all involved.  Working with the school was great for extending our relationships with the local community and helps to raise the profile of Children North East.

I really enjoyed the event, it was a pleasure to be involved. I love interacting with children and it was fantastic to see them smile and have fun.

Paula Sales - Facilities Manager

The Sandcastle Challenge is always a fun-filled day and it is clear to see how much the children enjoy it.  Our partner school, Cleadon Church of England Academy was very organised, pupils spent time researching the theme and making props to take along to the challenge. It’s always a pleasure to get involved for a great cause and knowing that children in the North East will benefit from the event makes it all the more special.

Stephanie Pells - Community & Extended Lets Coordinator

The Sandcastle Challenge is an engaging and enjoyable charity event which seems to get more popular each year. The atmosphere on the day is electric and the children’s excitement almost drowns out the claxon sounding to start off the sand creativities. You can’t help but walk away after the event with a huge smile on your face whilst waving off the small army of children who have taken so much from it!

Karen Klein – Grounds Maintenance Manger



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