WITH Red Nose Day approaching this Friday, Comic Relief has helped charities across the North West prepare for the big day.

Every two years, people up and down the country come together in aid of Comic Relief to raise money for organisations all around the world. This year’s show will be broadcast at 7pm on BBC one (Friday, March 24) and will feature Ed Sheeran visiting the streets of Liberia, and Professor Stephen Hawking, Warwick Davis, and Katie Price voicing the Red Noses for a digital comic strip game.

There will also be comedy performances from the likes of Sir Lenny Henry, Joe Lycett, and Rob Beckett, as well as music from Emeli Sande and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. The last Comic Relief in 2015 raised £99,418,831.

There will also be a montage video from various charities and fundraisers to the song “I’ve Had The Time of My Life”. Outside Old Trafford. The Strictly Come Dancing Wheelchair team filmed their section with the help of other wheelchair users, including Alex Nield.

Alex, 9, who suffers from cerebral palsy, and his father, Jon, 42, spoke of what life was like for them and how charities have helped them.

Alex, who attends a mainstream school in Bury, Manchester, is a huge fan of Manchester United and met his hero, Juan Mata, in October last year. With season tickets for Old Trafford, Alex attends matches with his dad, Jon, an IT Area Manager.

Describing his son as a “very happy young man, always smiling”, Jon said: “Alex is unable to walk independently and needs help toileting and sometimes feeding when he is tired.
“As a parent, things can be tiring, especially after I was diagnosed with MS October 2014,” he added.

Jon said: “Alex makes my wife [Victoria, 45, project officer] and I proud every day; his determination has to be seen to be believed.”

Attending Brainwave, a children’s charity in Warrington that focuses on helping children with disabilities achieve greater independence, Alex is learning how important physiotherapy is to a better quality of life. Inspired by his favourite team, Alex recently started playing wheelchair football at Bolton Bullets and enjoys watching football and going to Cubs with his friends.

Comic Relief funds hundreds of projects in the North West of England. In Greater Manchester, Salford Lads Club received £40,00 in November 2016 as part of the new ‘Core Strength’ programme focusing on smaller organisations.

Like all small organisations, Salford Lads’ Club struggles to keep up with all administrative tasks required to keep the centre up and running. The new grant will enable the team to spend time preparing longer term plans, improve its systems, such as IT, and to expand opportunities with its own social enterprise. The funding will also help to cover staff training and overheads over a period of two years.

Founded in 1903, Salford Lads’ Club aim was to offer positive alternatives to teenage gangs and crime in one of the poorest areas of the city. As well as receiving funding from BBC’s Children in Need, Sport England, and the Heritage Lottery Fund, Salford Lads’ Club hosts a fundraiser every Saturday from 11pm-2pm. They also sell Salford Lads’ Club merchandise all over the world from their website.

The club is run by volunteers from the Salford community, including Archie Swift OBE, 82 and Eric Salthouse, 86, as well as many younger volunteers. Eric joined the club aged 12 in 1942, and Archie aged 13 in 1947; they say that the club has changed their lives for the better and have continued to volunteer ever since.

Leslie Holmes, project manager, said: “The Comic Relief grant is a really important step for us, it shows that we are still on the right course after 113 years, and it gives us the confidence and opportunity to plan longer term and move forward.”

To find out more on Comic Relief funded projects in your area take a look at the interactive map below:

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