As Lord Sugar’s aid, Nick Hewer has refined the art of The Apprentice selection process, and he appears just as content watching over the Countdown clock. Now, the PR magnate has taken to matters away from the TV cameras, becoming involved with Street Child, a charity seeking to help the poorest children in West Africa.
Street Child’s latest campaign, ‘Every Child in School’, determines to put the impoverished children of Liberia and Sierra Leone back into education by building schools and improving living conditions, getting kids off the streets and into safe accommodation.
It was a chance meeting with Street Child founder Tom Hewitt that alerted Hewer to the plight of West African children. Learning that there are over 50,000 street kids in Sierra Leona alone, the former PR impresario decided to lend his expertise to the cause.
“What Street Child does is identify kids and reunite families, but what they do in order to stop the children from running away again is give them a little ground of just £50. In Sierra Leone this is a lot of money, though for us it’s nothing. When these kids can stay at home they can go to school. In the rural areas, if there isn’t a school we build one for them. We don’t need much money to build a school - it only costs £12,000 to build a school that would be big enough for 250 children. That isn’t a lot of money, is it? And it only costs £1000 a year to run and then kids get a decent education. And everything stems from getting a decent education.”
Ever the business minded sage, Hewer notes the appeal of this particular charity. He believes the goals the campaign strives toward to be tangible – not to mention achievable. Having taken part in charity treks to Kazakstan and spent time in Rwanda, Hewer has witnessed first-hand how an industrious approach can achieve palpable goals.
“Street Child is doing incredible work, making tremendous inroads.” He tells us. “And the unusual thing about this project is that it can be done. I’m not in any way being disrespectful of the efforts of Children in Need, but that is so big that it is sometimes hard to see what is being done and what needs to be done. What we are saying here is that we only need enough for 50,000 kids. We could do this in a couple of years. It is not impossible to see an end to this craziness. It is achievable. You could actually finish this one off.”
As a familiar face on British television, Hewer knows that his ‘celebrity’ status can aid the causes he holds dear. “I am convinced it is a very worthwhile thing to support. And if that is helpful, then why not?”
He also makes use of his well renowned sternness when imploring people to give to a worthy cause.
“It’s all very well saying we have Government backing, but we have to raise the money. It’s just £50 to save a family. All you have to do is not take your girlfriend out for dinner on Saturday.”
Aside from his charitable endeavours, Nick Hewer remains a best known as Lord Sugar’s right hand man, and he promises us that The Apprentice will return better than ever in the autumn.
“Oh, it will come roaring back, you can be sure of that.”
You can support Street Child in their quest to help thousands of children leave the streets and receive an education. To donate £3, text ‘STREETCHILD £3’ to 70707 or visit www.street-child.co.uk for more details.