No mystery as Appeal success sees first students enjoying free seats

It was elementary… students from Winchelsea community special school were the first to benefit as generous donors ensured Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, more than doubled the target of its Big Christmas Appeal.

As a result, 26 students and parents were able to enjoy a performance of Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four last Friday evening.

“Being able to offer free tickets to our students is fabulous,” says Natasha Skinner, Winchelsea’s Art Specialist. “We are passionate about the arts and about confronting and overcoming the barriers that our young children and their families face, be it financial, social or challenging the idea that young people with special needs are not interested in theatre.

“Opportunities like this ignite the spark and light up the imagination – thank you Lighthouse!”

Last year Lighthouse gave more than 15,000 free or discounted tickets to children, families and local people who experience disadvantage and launched its Big Christmas Appeal to raise £10,000 to help even more enjoy the gift of live theatre.

But when the money raised through bucket collections, gifts made online and at the box office, as well as at the bars and café, was added to a significant one-off donation, Gift Aid and match funding offered by Lyn Glass, a former chair of the Poole Arts Trust charity that runs Lighthouse, the final figure raised was more than £20,000.

“That’s around 1,600 more people who will be able to come and experience live theatre at Lighthouse for free this year,” says Lighthouse fundraising manager Tom Shallaker.

“This appeal has only been successful because of the incredible efforts and generosity of local people and the special place Lighthouse holds in their hearts as Poole’s cultural centre of excellence for live performance.”

Published 7 February 2019