The New Vic Theatre has welcomed the continued support of the Denise Coates Foundation, as it awards a significant grant to the theatre’s Borderlines programme over the next four years.

The Denise Coates Foundation has committed to give up to £480,000 over a four-year period to the New Vic’s community outreach programme Borderlines. The conditional grant will support the theatre’s work with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people across Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.

New Vic Borderlines will engage over 7,000 participants annually thanks to the grant, through a programme of workshops and theatre performances to local schools and colleges, a literacy development project, and its regular groups including its Young People’s Theatre Company.

The support for the theatre’s work with young people continues a partnership established in 2015 when the Foundation supported the theatre-in-the-round’s artistic work and building upgrade.

Launched in 1999, New Vic Borderlines is an award-winning initiative that works with individuals, groups and communities facing social and economic challenges including young people at risk of offending, children and young people in care, young carers and others at risk of being marginalised. It aims to help them find new and positive ways to understand themselves, their communities and responsibilities through the power of theatre. It is acknowledged as a national model for the ways theatre can be used to work within the community.

Recent Borderlines projects have included hundreds of young people taking part in ‘Model Citizens’ workshops and contributing to Borderlines’ first Seeds Of Peace conference (main image) countering prejudice, discrimination and hate; participation in a civic pride event for the platinum jubilee with the Borderlines Young People’s Theatre Company creating performances celebrating the ‘Best of British’; and the Higher Horizons Next Chapter project in partnership with Keele University which saw young people help to create a performance about raising aspirations.

Upcoming projects include Stealing Dreams, tackling knife crime. There will be Stealing Dreams workshops in partnership with Kidsgrove Police and Aspire Housing at Clough Hall Park in September and then across the city in October and November.

Meanwhile Borderlines will deliver workshops throughout the summer in partnership with the Hubb Foundation as part of the government’s Holiday activities and food (HAF) programme, for children moving from primary school into secondary school, in their Being Me project building confidence and resilience.

And the New Worlds project will deliver full day sessions for young people who are living in challenging circumstances including looked after children and young people from Ukrainian families who have recently arrived in the area. It will explore the kind of society they would like to create in the future and how to play their part in achieving it.

New Vic Managing Director Fiona Wallace said:The support of the Denise Coates Foundation made such a difference for the young people we work with through the tremendous challenges they faced during the pandemic.  As families face the longer-term challenges ahead, it now seems even more important to engage children, who would otherwise be disadvantaged, in all of the fantastic benefits theatre and the arts can bringWe are very grateful that with the help of the Foundation we will be able to do this.

Denise Coates CBE, Denise Coates Foundation, said: “Over a number of years the Foundation has developed its relationship with the New Vic. This funding commitment is the latest of a number of grants the Foundation has provided.  The continued support demonstrates the trustees view that engagement with the Arts can be a life changing experience.”

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