A phenomenal £25,000 has been raised by generous donors for our Hippodrome’s Education Network (HEN) as part of the Big Give Christmas Challenge. This funding will directly benefit young people across Birmingham and the Black Country, enabling them to participate in workshops and creative projects which will develop their skills and create many first-time cultural experiences for many.

In challenging times for many, we set a tough target of £20,000 as part of the Big Give Christmas Challenge campaign, the UKs biggest online match funding campaign which doubles donations for a seven-day period. The initial target was reached by the midpoint of the campaign with the additional £5000 raised over the remainder of the week. The total includes Gift Aid and online donations.

Judith Greenburgh, Head of Fundraising and Development at Birmingham Hippodrome said: “Thank you to everyone who has donated and helped us to more than exceed our original target and support a further 1000 young people over the next 12 months.

“The whole team at Hippodrome have been awed by the level of support, it’s demonstrated the value our donors place on the importance of culture and creativity for the wellbeing of young people and it’s wonderful that this funding will means so many more young people benefit.”

Donors include members of the public as well as businesses including IMI plc, Darwin Alternatives, Glenn Howells Architects, Property for Kids and local Trust and Foundations including The Bishop of Birmingham Charity, The Owen Family Trust and The Rowan Trust.

The funding will directly benefit young people through the Hippodrome Education Network (HEN) supporting young people to reconnect, rebuild their confidence and resilience as well as improve their wellbeing, through culture – all of which has been impacted over the last 18 months. For many younger children the work HEN will now be able to deliver will be their first experience of creative arts and theatre – essential experiences that help them negotiate social interactions, learn to take turns, make friends and express their feelings.

Jo Wright, Head of Learning at Birmingham Hippodrome added: “This funding is fantastic news for all the children and staff who participate in the Hippodrome Education Network. We will be able to continue delivering impactful work in schools, welcome school groups to our building and build on the important growth in skills and well-being that Birmingham Hippodrome supports. We’d like to extend our thanks to all who have donated.”

HEN is designed to allow schools and colleges to have as much flexibility as possible and to find the model that works best for them in order to provide young people with the chance to experience and connect with theatre. The impact for schools is far-reaching – 93% of teachers involved say that the cultural education HEN provide helps their students perform better in other academic subjects.

Find out more about the Hippodrome Education Network here.