Young people join inclusive new theatre production thanks to Care UK grant

May 19, 2015

Young people throughout the Ipswich area will have the chance to learn new skills and join an exciting new theatre production, thanks to a grant from the Care UK wellbeing foundation.

Around 30 young people aged between 10-21, some with physical and learning disabilities, will take part in a new adaptation of Hans Christian-Anderson’s story The Red Shoes, which will be performed at theatre group Red Rose Chain’s new venue Avenue Theatre at the end of the month.

Red Rose Chain producer David Newborn said: “We are very grateful to the Care UK wellbeing foundation for the £2,000 grant that has enabled us to stage this exciting interpretation of a much-loved classic tale.
“We run a free access youth theatre that is open to all young people. Some of those who join us have mental health conditions, others have learning disabilities, but all are united by a love of theatre and performance.

“We know that, whatever a person’s background or abilities, they thrive in this nurturing, creative and safe environment. Many of our younger members volunteer front of house or behind the scenes whilst others get involved in marketing, so they gain practical life-experiences as well as developing confidence and performing skills on stage.”

Young people join inclusive new theatre production thanks to Care UK grant

The Red Shoes runs 28-30 May and tickets are available from Red Rose Chain’s box office by calling 01473 603388 or visiting

One of the young people to benefit from working with the group is 18 year-old Lottie Carey. Lottie has Asperger’s Syndrome and joined the group aged 15.

She explains what working with Red Rose Chain youth theatre has meant to her: “It is absolutely fantastic that the youth theatre is so inclusive. It means that I could take a journey from the youth theatre for disabled young people to the ‘mainstream’ group. I have become so much more confident in my abilities and the youth theatre has been key in me doing so.”

Rosemary Harvey, assistant company secretary at Care UK and who encouraged David to apply for the wellbeing foundation grant, said: “The foundation aims to promote wellbeing through the arts and it is clear to see that the whole community benefits from the outstanding work of Red Rose Chain.

“The foundation’s board members were impressed with the level of support the group gives to young people in Ipswich. They were also impressed with the diversity of the group and the commitment its team shows to helping young people develop their skills and confidence in a creative and inclusive environment.”

The Care UK wellbeing foundation has been set up as a way for Care UK to give back to the communities where it runs services. The foundation is investing £100,000 to charities on both a national and local level.

Every year the foundation will set aside 30 per cent of its investment for small, local initiatives – often these are nominated by Care UK employees. In the current year, applications are invited from charities which are promoting community wellbeing through the arts. Further applications are welcome – details of how to apply can be found here.