For the second year running along with other charities, THF worked with Exeter Northcott Theatre to help distribute free tickets for this season’s pantomime - Robin Hood. These tickets have been very generously donated by kind theatre-lovers, via the Pay It Forward scheme. This scheme allows families - normally unable to afford to go to the theatre – the chance to see a Christmas-time show.
In 12 Teignbridge schools, families selected by staff will benefit from this year's scheme. Feedback last year from families who went to see A Christmas Carol was very positive, but none of us could perhaps have imagined just what a powerful and lasting impact such a scheme could have.
Very recently, a family-supporter worker at one local school wrote to THF trustees saying:
“Last year, we applied for some tickets for a mum and son whom I was supporting with an Early Help plan. She accepted the tickets and took her son to the theatre to see A Christmas Carol, that wonderful story of redemption and renewal.
“We fed back to the Northcott her experience, which was heart-warming, as the mum had experienced a violent domestic situation, which not only left her having to rebuild her life with her child but also lacking severely in confidence.”
The support-worker continued:
“After going to the panto, the mum decided that she could and would rebuild their lives. She got herself a job, determined among everything else, that she could fund further visits to the theatre. They no longer needed the support with a Help Plan, but the son (I shall call him Damien - not his real name) visits my office to let me know how they are getting on - and mum will often update me when I see her. Their visit to the panto unlocked their world."
“Recently, they went to the theatre to attend a musical event, which allowed me to show Damien our Helen Foundation Award which has pride of place in our school music room. He was looking at all the names on that award which enabled me to talk to him about a previous student's achievements within the Arts.
"I was able to tell him that one young musician went on to win a further Helen Foundation Award at Dawlish College and later, he gained a First-Class Honours degree from Leeds Conservatoire. This has fuelled Damien's interest in learning an instrument which I am currently supporting the family to achieve.
Your Foundation for Helen is really the gift that keeps on giving.”