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Brightening up winter as families enjoy free panto
HUNDREDS of Bournemouth children have had the time of their lives at a free pantomime performance.
Four Dick Whittington shows were put on at the town’s Pier Theatre by Chaplins Gold Panto, thanks to an initiative organised by Kitty’s Wish Foundation and Bournemouth Borough Council’s Early Years Service, backed by LV=.
It is the second year the council has arranged the free pantomime performances, to which families most in need are invited.
The scheme was this year financially backed by LV=, which also provided volunteers to help out during the performances. Refreshments were sponsored by Rotary of Westbourne and IMS Finance.
Julian Sandy, the early years service community engagement officer, is behind the project. He did a presentation to the town’s health visitors, midwifes, children’s centres and social workers, who then invited the families.
He said: “We wanted to do it in January because it’s a glum month and some of these families have not had Christmas at all because of financial implications or illnesses.
“It’s giving these children a life experience and a childhood experience, giving them a whole family get-together.
“One family had not been out together for a year. The joy on these kids’ faces, that’s what it’s about. It was just magical.”
Sam Preece, corporate social responsibility manager for LV=, said: “We do a lot of department volunteering.
“We support people by giving them time to go and volunteer.
“We could reach so many families with these pantomimes, we could give back to a lot of people in one hit.
“We had more than 30 volunteers helping across the performances and we made a sizeable donation.
“If LV= had not been involved it would not have happened this year.”
She added the company had already had great feedback from both the volunteers and from people who attended the shows.