Feature: Bringer of Cheer; Busy Mum-of-Three Julie Oliver Dedicates Her Time to Improving the Lives of Families in the West End of Newcastle. LIZ LAMB Chats to the Community Champion about Her Work

Article excerpt

Byline: LIZ LAMB

SEEING the smiling faces of young children in her community makes Julie Oliver's efforts all worthwhile.

Every year more than 500 families from Newcastle's West End get the chance of a break thanks to a holiday club Julie helps run with community group West End Vision.

She also organises themed-parties for youngsters, a fishing club and organises theatre trips and camping expeditions through her work with the Friends of St John's Primary.

Many of those she helps live in deprived areas and wouldn't normally be able to afford a holiday. Some are lone parents who don't have a chance to get away.

"When we meet up to go on holiday it's so nice seeing all the children's faces, they are so excited," says the mum-of-three, of Benwell.

"Some of them have not been on holiday before. It's just brilliant." Thanks to the 37-year-old's dedication, families go on a break to resorts across Britain every year.

The volunteer, who is married to Eddie, 41, does all this as well as bringing up her three sons Bryan, 15, Jack, eight and Richard, 12, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

She says: "We started the holiday club in 1999. A lot of people could not afford a proper holiday themselves or, as lone parents, lacked the confidence to go away on their own.

"We decided to try to do something about it.

"Now hundreds of families come away with us every year.

"The most we have had was 570 and we put on 10 coaches.

"They like it because they are not on their own, they meet other families and they know their children are safe and they are going with other children they can play with." Past successes include holidays in Blackpool, Great Yarmouth, Primrose Valley in Filey and Berwick. …


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