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Belgrade helps needy families make memories

A total of 170 families got to experience the magic of Cinderella at the Belgrade Theatre over Christmas, thanks to the generosity of audiences, theatre staff and supporters from Barclays Bank in the latest Making Memories campaign.

Now in its sixth year, the campaign generated a record-breaking £10,822 in donations, allowing families facing hardship and other serious challenges to enjoy the panto.

Working with Coventry Foodbank and its various referral agencies, the theatre made available more than 750 individual tickets for those most in need across the city - and there's enough left over to give families another theatre treat later in the year.

Helen Hotchkiss, Head of Development at the Belgrade, said: "We are committed to making the theatre an accessible and welcoming place to all. For many families facing significantly challenging situations, such as financial hardship, illness or isolation, a trip to the theatre is a luxury they simply cannot afford. Some may have never been to a theatre before.

"Making Memories provides them with a brief escape from the challenges of day-to-day life and the opportunity to spend quality time together as a family."

This year's Christmas campaign brings the amount raised by Making Memories to £33,063, over the past six years, helping 2,228 people from more than 500 families to enjoy an unforgettable day out.

This year also saw the Belgrade host its first ever "relaxed" panto performance, improving access to the show for anyone who might benefit from a more laid-back style, including those with autism, sensory and communication disorders, learning disabilities and dementia.

Among those giving up their time to support the production were volunteers from Coventry Building Society and from Earlsdon Women's Institute, who knitted sensory aids for audience members to use.

Pictured: Iain Lauchlan and Greg Powrie, stars of the Belgrade panto Cinderella.

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