Barton Hill-based theatre company, Travelling Light, will receive £182,256 from the Big Lottery Fund and DCMS’s Youth Investment Fund to help support and expand their extensive participation programme for young people

Local theatre company and registered charity, Travelling Light, have been running regular youth groups at the heart of the community in Barton Hill for the last 16 years. This new investment will enable the company to enhance and extend these activities so they can reach even more young people in Bristol.

Travelling Light

Travelling Light’s new funding will allow them to expand their youth engagement offering, image © Benjamin Pryor

The Youth Investment Fund is equally funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding.

Georgina Densley, Participation Director at Travelling Light, said: “This fantastic new funding will enable us to provide security to our regular well-loved services: Travelling Light Youth Theatre and Louder Than Words, our free drama group for young people with additional needs, both of which will continue to run for the next three years and thanks to the Youth Investment Fund we can offer increased Youth Theatre bursaries for those facing financial hardship.”

In addition to this the company have begun an exciting new programme of work which opens doors to the creative arts for young people from all backgrounds.

ActionSpeak, a new company supported by the Youth Investment Fund for disabled young people aged 16-25, will offer weekly supported workshops, professional standard performance opportunities and employment paths into the creative arts. The group will be led in partnership with West of England Centre for Inclusive Learning (WECIL). The company are also delivering free monthly drop-in workshops in the local community and free curated theatre trips throughout the year. This activity is completely open access: everyone aged 10 – 18 can join in, and all they need is a registration form.

“Bristol is a city with a wealth of opportunity and creativity, but it is also a city divided by the haves and the have-nots,” added Georgina. “For young people living in different wards of the city their life experiences and life chances can be drastically different to one another. The ward in which Travelling Light are based, Lawrence Hill, is one of the most deprived in the UK. Here, 49.79% of children are living in poverty.

“Young people in poverty need support in a number of ways. They also need the freedom to play, to create, explore their interests, understand the world around them and grow their potential just like every child. It’s the difference between surviving and living, dealing with a problem or giving young people tools to create their solution. This is why the Youth Investment Fund’s support is essential: it will enable Travelling Light to remove barriers to engagement whether they are financial, social or cultural, so that all young people can take part in positive activity. Activity which will encourage them to broaden their horizons, develop new positive experiences and equip themselves with essential skills and learning as they transition to adulthood.

“The arts are an essential part of self-expression and can help young people to shape their own identities and inform the way they interact with and impact their surroundings. Young people tell us that by engaging with our services they have increased their confidence, communication and leadership skills as well as building new friendships, all essential for building a happy and healthy childhood and adulthood. We are delighted to be supported by the Youth Investment Fund to bring these brilliant opportunities to even more young people in Bristol.”

To find out more about Travelling Light Youth Theatre, Louder Than Words, ActionSpeak and other opportunities contact Youth Theatre Coordinator Giula on Giulia@travellinglighttheatre.org.uk, call/text 01179031649 or 07724534375 or visit the website at travellinglighttheatre.org.uk to find out more

Featured image © Benjamin Pryor