Dream came true for Sheffield estate kids

Kate King (second from left) founder of Sheffield's Dream Scheme reunited with her old volunteers Thomas Cocking and Stuart Allen.

Kate King (second from left) founder of Sheffield's Dream Scheme reunited with her old volunteers Thomas Cocking and Stuart Allen.

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THE driving force behind a project which moulded children into model citizens made a welcome return to the Sheffield community where it all began.

In the mid 1990s, 45-year-old Kate King founded the Dream Scheme on Wincobank’s Flower Estate, after recognising young residents needed something to do.

Children taking part in the Dream Scheme in Sheffield, which ran from 1991 to 1995. Kate King and husband Geoff are pictured in the back row.

Children taking part in the Dream Scheme in Sheffield, which ran from 1991 to 1995. Kate King and husband Geoff are pictured in the back row.

The idea was to get children to carry out work in the community in exchange for points which were then swapped for treats came to her as she slept one night - hence the name.

Hundreds of 11 to 18 year olds living in the area carried out litter picks, completed First Aid courses, did gardening and held coffee mornings to get days out and other experiences.

Kate, now 63 and living in Lancashire, was reunited with some of her volunteers as guest of honour at Wincobank Chapel’s Retro Day.

She said: “There were a few problems with anti-social behaviour, but children just needed something to do. The points taught them that their work had a value, and what they did was designed to give them skills for life.

“I pitched the idea to local charities and businesses and they got involved and helped to pay for the rewards.

“It was a great time, you really noticed a change in some of them who took part. I’m still in touch with a few of them.”

Former Dream Scheme participant Thomas Cocking, 30, who brought his own family along, said: “We used to do gardening and pick up the litter, Kate taught us to cook and we even made bags and hats for old ladies at the coffee morning on the Flower Estate.

“In return we got to go on trips to the seaside in the Dream Scheme bus and go on activities like rock climbing. It was great – it gave you a chance to do all sorts.”

The programme ended in Sheffield in 1995, but the scheme was so successful it became nationwide phenomenon and has even reached overseas.

Mrs King said: “It would be brilliant to see the Dream Scheme in Sheffield again, I think there are a lot of children who would benefit.”

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