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It's that time of year again when millions of people dig deep to help make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

As a mum and owner of a childcare training company I share BBC Children in Need's vision that every youngster should have a childhood which is safe, happy and secure and allows them the chance to reach their potential.

And I continue to play my small part by making a donation to the charity coffers.

For the second year running BBC Children In Need is partnering with Lloyds Bank for The Big Spotacular, enabling nursery-aged children to contribute.

Building on the success of last year’s fundraising campaign youngsters will learn about the cause of the charity while they raise money to make a Spotacular difference.

Early Years settings are invited to host Pudsey picnic parties, bake spotty cakes, wear spotty fancy dress and organise spotty sponsored challenges.

And, along with the rest of the nation, they are being challenged to take part in Pudsey's Round Pound Countdown Countdown. Millions of round pound coins are still in circulation and the charity is asking us to hunt for them in saving jars, piggy banks, coat pockets and down the back of sofas, then put them to good use by donating to BBC Children in Need.

To help raise lots with the help of spots there's a range of new resources - including materials to support SEND learning, fundraising ideas and a Pudsey coin fill alongside updated curriculum-linked lessons about the charity and a fundraising kit.

Last year nearly £6 million was raised over just one week, by the 17,500 UK nurseries and schools which took part.

Research conducted by National Schools Partnership, which surveyed a sample of 977 schools that used The Big Spotacular resources to fundraise for BBC Children in Need in 2016, found:

  • 91% of teachers felt taking part in the campaign had positively impacted pupils’ attitudes regarding awareness of challenges faced by other children
  • 86% of teachers considered the resources useful in supporting fundraising
  • More than three-quarters of teachers said fundraising had positively impacted on pupils’ teamwork (76%), communication skills (77%) and confidence (77%)

As Jonathan Rigby, Director of Marketing and Fundraising for BBC Children in Need, says: "This year we’re urging all the nurseries and schools across the UK to join the Big Spotacular with Lloyds Bank and go spotty to help raise money for BBC Children in Need.

"The money raised really will make a huge difference to children and young people up and down the UK who are facing disadvantage. So, whether it’s hosting a spotty picnic or taking part in a spotty sponsored footie match, get your hands on a fundraising pack and get involved!"

You can download a Spotacular Fundraising Kit - containing fundraising ideas, resources and plenty of goodies to enable children to go as spotty as possible here

We'd love to see and share what you're doing to raise money for Children in Need.  Whether your Early Years children are dressing up, selling cakes or taking part in another spotty challenge BBC tweet @Riversideltd