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Underground Lights performing No Time for Christmas at Shop Front Theatre

A Christmas Gift: Funding awarded to Underground Lights

Posted on 23 December 2019

Belgrade Springboard Company Underground Lights have received a welcome gift in time for Christmas in the form of a generous funding boost from The Tudor Trust and Heart of England Community Foundation.

A grant of £50,000 from the Tudor Trust will enable the emerging company to continue its life-changing work with people experiencing homelessness, mental ill health and social isolation over the next two years, including its weekly drama group which meets at the Belgrade Theatre, and its drop-in Creative Café at Shop Front Theatre.

Underground Lights co-founder and manager Emma Ormerod said: “The Tudor Trust have awarded Underground Lights a grant of £50,000 over two years. This is amazing news for us because it means that we will be able to continue to run our drama groups and Creative Cafes into 2020 and beyond. It also means that we will be able to pay salary costs for staff members which will give us much needed time to develop our work and focus on making the charity more sustainable over the coming years.

“Member-led organisations across the country are facing many challenges so it’s wonderful that Tudor Trust are so committed to supporting the work of local, grassroots organisations and their activities. Our members played a really important role in being awarded this funding. The application was a two stage process and grant officers from Tudor Trust came to visit us during the summer. The energy and passion of our members was clearly evident and the funders told us that this shone through in our application, so this is definitely a success that we can all share together – everyone had a part to play!”

Underground Lights performing No Time For Christmas at Shop Front Theatre

The funding from the Tudor Trust has in turn unlocked a conditional grant of £9,800 from Heart of England’s Coventry UK City of Culture Fund, designed to help organisations prepare for 2021. Better still, the company has also recently received a further donation of £5000 from the Edward Cadbury Trust.

Set up in March 2018, Underground Lights was co-founded by drama practitioner and mental health researcher Emma Ormerod, together with Project Assistant Lewis Ford, who has himself experienced homelessness. In January 2019, the company began running regular drama workshops at the Belgrade, designed to offer a safe and supportive environment in which participants could express their creativity, learn new skills, make friends and build confidence.

In March 2019, it was announced that Underground Lights would join the Belgrade’s Springboard talent development programme, benefitting from tailored support over a three-year period, including advice and guidance from experienced Belgrade staff, marketing and PR support, and space to create, rehearse and showcase their work.

Underground Lights is committed to a member-led ethos, empowering its participants to make their own decisions about the things that they would like to work on and perform. In keeping with this ethos, five of its seven trustees, both of its co-founders and all four of its volunteers have personal experience of mental ill health and/or homelessness.

For more information about the company and its work, please visit the Underground Lights website.