We have set an ambitious £20,000 target as part of The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021 in order to reconnect young people through culture as well as create first time arts experiences for young people through the Hippodrome Education Network (HEN).

The annual festive Big Give Christmas Challenge means that all online donations to Birmingham Hippodrome’s Big Give Campaign between midday on 30 November and 7 December 2021 will be doubled.

Judith Greenburgh, Head of Fundraising and Development at Birmingham Hippodrome said: Online donations during The Big Give 2021 mean that your £5 donation becomes £10 which is two arts leadership workshop sessions building confidence and skills for primary pupils. Evidence shows these make a real difference to academic attainment, skills development and wellbeing.

Our established, successful Hippodrome Education Network already engages with 35 primary, secondary and SEN partner schools in socio-economically deprived areas of Birmingham and the Black Country. This means that 25,000 underprivileged young people are already benefiting from 125,000 plus cultural engagement moments through weekly creative activities and inspiring projects led by specialist Learning Artists. If we hit our £20,000 target this will mean creative opportunities for a further 5000 young people.

Through doubling donations as part of The Big Give 2021, the HEN will be able to support young people to reconnect, rebuilding their confidence and resilience as well as improving their wellbeing through culture – all of which has been impacted over the last 18 months. Young people have experienced three years of disrupted education, meaning many felt extreme levels of anxiety about returning to school.

For many of the children whose first experience of Primary School was interrupted by COVID 19, these will not only be their first experience of creative arts and theatre, but also sessions will help them negotiate social interactions, learn to take turns, make friends and express their feelings. Donations to Birmingham Hippodrome during the Big Give will enable the HEN to deliver affordable, inclusive arts-based opportunities to inspire students, opportunities that over 50% of teachers cannot currently access as a curriculum staple.

Emily Johnston, Oaklands Primary School, said: “The return to school after such a long time off has been a daunting experience and caused anxiety in many of our children. The children who the Hippodrome have worked with have loved being able to redevelop their confidence and relationships with peers and we are delighted to bring arts and cultural experiences back in to school.”

Dan Jones from Allens Croft Primary School added: “It has been a joy to see smiling children and hear their laughter again whilst participating in HEN sessions and it’s been wonderful offering these to our newest pupils, many of whom missed out on these transformative experiences during their first year of education.”

All donations are welcome however big or small, starting at £1, every gift will make a difference to young people across Birmingham and the Black Country:

£5 will pay for an arts leadership workshop session, building confidence and skills for primary pupils.
£10 will pay for a Young Choreographer to work with an International Dance Artist for the afternoon.
£25 pays for the digital delivery of a visual arts or drama skills workshop for a whole class.
£50 buys project resources for puppet workshops for 5-7 yrs olds.
£75 supports an artist deliver a digital masterclass to bring a touch of theatrical magic back into the classroom.
£100 pays for editing a film made by one of our SEN Schools to share with their parents, friends and community.

Donations can be made from midday on 30 November until 7 December. You can find out more and donate here.