Campaign launched to create new creative centre in Ashington

A new creative centre planned for Ashington has received cross-party support from regional MPs.

By David Sedgwick
Monday, 6th September 2021, 8:00 am
Left to right: Blessing Olalemi, Dr Wendy Taylor, and Anna Reay.
Left to right: Blessing Olalemi, Dr Wendy Taylor, and Anna Reay.

Chi Onwurah, the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, and Dr Wendy Taylor, Health spokesperson representing Dr Nick Cott, leader of the Newcastle Liberal Democrats, have launched a new charity campaign with children’s organisation Safe Haven – A Ray of Hope.

The charity is fundraising to build a new fashion design and creative centre in Ashington for underprivileged children and children living with disabilities.

The pair offered cross-party support to the charity at the premiere of its new music video for the charity single She’s One in a Million, with all proceeds from the single being donated to building the child and family focused centre tackling social and economic disadvantage and childhood disabilities.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The song is a collaboration by popular African afrobeat musician Flavour N’abania and UK singer Anna Reay, honouring the memory of eight-year-old Valerie Olalemi, who lost her life to a rare blood disorder, the hereditary immunodeficiency chronic granulomatous disorder, in April 2020.

Valerie’s mother, Blessing Olalemi, is now supporting her younger child, Praise, aged four, through the same illness, and founded Safe Haven – A Ray of Hope to support other underprivileged children and children living with disabilities.

She’s One in a Million also pays homage to the estimated 93 million to 150 million children globally currently living with disability, plus the one billion under privileged children who are multi dimensionally poor, and those suffering from a rare disease.

Chi Onwurah and Blessing Olalemi are actively campaigning to attract more stem cell donors from BAME backgrounds, with a blood stem cell transplant offering the best chance of survival from chronic granulomatous disorder.

Currently, people with BAME backgrounds only have a 20% chance of finding a matching blood stem cell donor. Meanwhile, whilst people from northern European backgrounds have a 69% chance.

Blessing Olalemi, founder of Safe Haven – A Ray of Hope, said: “It was Valerie’s dream to grow up and become the greatest fashion designer in the world.

"Tragically, Valerie didn’t get the chance to realise this dream, but we want to help other children and their families to get the support they desperately need.

"The centre will provide creative activities reflecting Valerie's aspirations alongside support and advice.”