Herman The Hero



The Sadsville Campaign is a project to give a FREE copy of SADSVILLE to every Year 4 (age 8/9) child in the country.

Written especially to the NSPCC’s Childline service, Sadsville cleverly introduces children to the concept of emotions and how they can be managed.  It offers simple advice for self-help in times of sadness, and guides children to the professional support of Childline if they need it.

As with the other titles in The Villes series, the reason for everyone being sad is a whimsical one, but the story illustrates in a light-hearted way that sometimes by taking a different perspective on things, and with other people’s help, even the most challenging problems can be sorted out.

The Martin Roberts Foundation is a UK registered charity specifically set up to manage and deliver this objective.


The Headlines

770,000 Free Books

The number of Year 4 (age 8/9) children there are in the country.

152 Education Authorities

Who we are working with to distribute books through schools.

£250,000 Sponsorship

The amount of money needed to be raised to make this happen.

Why Sadsville is Needed

Number of Copies of SADSVILLE Book

  • Greater Somerset
  • Hampshire

Progress So Far

South West Schools



Greater Somerset



esther rantzen cropped

Dame Esther Rantzen, DBE

Founder & President of Childline

Thank you for creating this highly entertaining and original way of raising children’s awareness of how they can reach out for help through support services such as Childline. I wish the Sadsville book project every success.”

Herman's Charity


The Martin Roberts Foundation is the brainchild of TV presenter and property expert, Martin Roberts as a vehicle to raise money through donations and sponsorship to support carefully selected educational and well-being initiatives for children and young people.

As a Father himself and a long time supporter and campaigner for the NSPCC , Martin set up the charity to help address the need for ongoing awareness of charities like Childline amongst children and young people. In a world where childhood mental health issues are making the headlines regularly, Martin and The Foundation want to show children that there CAN BE A BETTER WAY and that help is out there, no matter how big or small the problem is.


Peter Wanless


“The Sadsville book project will help support the work of the NSPCC to protect children today and prevent abuse from happening tomorrow… Sadsville introduces children to problem solving and explains that you can be sad for a number of different reasons and encourages them to have the confidence to seek help. The number and website for the Childline support services offers a call to action at the end of the book and provides children with a lifeline when needed the most. In the most extreme of cases, this lifeline saves lives. By distributing Sadsville widely, we put this message in to the hands of children who may not otherwise have known who to turn to for help, and although it is impossible to monitor how children come to hear about Childline, the number of additional children using the service as a direct result of this initiative could be highly significant.”

Academic Acclaim

“Depression is maintained, and perhaps even caused, by deeply entrenched negative thinking. Negative thoughts about themselves, the world around them, and the future can capture a child’s mind and drag them into a downward spiral. SADSVILLE helps to break this toxic cycle by getting kids to think about sadness in a unique way, providing them with a platform to challenge the negative gremlins inside their heads and to realise that the gremlins are just that – gremlins- and not a true reflection of reality”

Prof Elaine Fox,
Professor of Cognitive

University of Oxford

What People Say...


“I know that the children loved getting a copy of ‘Sadsville’ and they have literally talked about nothing else since. It was great that you were able to read the book to them in our special assembly….”  “Something that struck me and our staff was that you not only care about our children but you also understand the issues that they face....”  “ I think Sadsville and the whole ‘Villes’ collection of books allow children to explore problems and how to solve them (in a very fun way)….”  “There was much discussion in the classroom afterwards about tackling problems that we face and understanding that there are many different solutions to help us resolve them….”  “Thank you once again Martin – you have certainly inspired the children and staff of Paulton Junior School” 
Matt Grosvenor, Headteacher Paulton Junior School
“I think that Sadsville is an excellent book. What impressed me so much was the quality of the story and the characterisation. It really draws you in and you want to know what happens in the end. I like the fact that the support is offered in a way that does not inhibit the enjoyment of the story but at the same time it allows children to access the appropriate support that they may need. A very genuine piece of writing.”
Sarah Salmon, Head Knowle West Children's Centre
“Sadsville is charming and imaginative. A firm favourite in the Vine household for months- a record!”
Jeremy Vine, Broadcaster (and Dad!)



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