180,000 people engaged
Our community programmes are far reaching and detailed
enough to pick up on every individual and their individual needs.
Our work alongside communities has had a clear focus. To allow people to see pathways and opportunities outside their everyday sphere of experience. This means something different to everyone, so our intention has always been to be led by need. This helps us to target the right opportunities for the right people and remain efficient with resources.
Children and Young People
We have supported children and young people in our community since our inception. As well as the regular sessions for children interested in performance, we have engaged children and young people in the community with:
- Parents / Carers with Toddlers
- Parents / Carers with Disabled Children
- Community Choir
- Museum Visits
- Theatre Visits
- Literacy Clubs
- Cinema Groups
- Christmas Shoe Box Appeals
- Shopping Bag Packs
- Christmas Productions
- Youth Sharings
- Christmas Santa Experiences
- Fun and Food Activities
- Guest Workshops
- Take Off Youth Theatre Festival
- Technical Theatre Further Education
- Learning Programmes
- Skills Development
- School Engagement
- School Workshops
- Outreach Programmes
- Healthy Eating Initiatives
A key part of our community commitment to mature citizens is our award-winning, Gaiety Afternoons, also known as Days of Our Lives projects.
At first glance, they are a high-quality, afternoon tea or evening soiree with refreshments. On closer inspection, they are an essential framework for older people to engage with (and gain trust in) younger generations, maintain peer relationships so easily broken in vulnerable communities, and combat mental health issues related to isolation, particularly relevant post-Covid.
In a fast-paced, ever evolving world, older people are often the most vulnerable. The pace of change today is unprecedented. As one pensioner put it to us, “almost nothing is as it seemed anymore. My generation don’t fit in. It makes you feel empty – all used up.”
Our aim was to bring people together, but the impact of it has been to see young engage more with the elderly and vice versa.
The key for us was to recognise that we live in a world that is more disconnected.
We have digital connectivity, but this is doing little else but to create silos within communities. Suddenly, there’s a new skill you’re expected to have otherwise you’re socially redundant.
Our goal of allowing others to see into the world of others paid dividends and the communities in which we have worked are far more integrated, much more resilient and protective of the cultural and intergenerational diversity they have built through our activities and initiatives.
In 2019, we received the Durham County Council, “A Project Without Equal” award for our intergenerational projects under the banner of Days of Our Lives.
A Project Without Equal Award trophy
Absolutely essential to our objectives is to ensure opportunity for all, regardless of ability.
We have worked with school SENCOs, local authority Children’s Services, Fostering agencies, Pupil Referral Units, Mental Health Organisations, specialist groups, parents and individuals in order to tailor our provision to all.
Where we’ve recognised gaps in our provision, we’be brought in specialist support or engaged in professional development to give ourselves the skills to support our most vulnerable service users.
As well as engaging BSL and Makaton signers and SENCo assessors, we’ve engaged with Sherbourne technique qualifications as well as Paediatric First Aid for staff and volunteers. We work regularly with local authority services and relevant organisations, as well as parents and focus groups made of of the very people we’re hoping to support. This engagement allows us to keep in touch with what our community needs.
Currently, as well as supporting hundreds of children with learning requirements and life-limiting conditions to take their exams, we are working with a young man who had nowhere else to go to learn the skills he was interested in. We are, essentially, his further education and skills development pathway into the world of work that awaits him.
“Teaching kids how to feed themselves and how to live in a community responsibly is the centre of an education.”
Fun and Food
Fun and Food is a local authority-funded initiative to ensure children have something healthy to eat during school holidays as well as some physical activities to engage with that are fun and challenging.
Beatrix Potter Dining Experience. 254 participants engaged.
The Elves and the Shoemaker. Over 5200 children engaged in this single project
Charlie’s Chocolate Factory Dining Experience. 230 children engaged.
Carnival of the Animals – over 250 people engaged
The Gaiety Afternoons / Days of Our Lives
We have carried out many workshops, exhibitions, tea afternoons, cinema days and performances which engage older people both on ur premises and in venues across the wider community.
“Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.”
“Community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers.”
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
Coretta Scott King