For those of us who deal with registering a charity in the UK on a daily basis sometimes it is easy to see them as a generic mass, often forgetting the life-changing impact each of them can have on individual members of our society.
Last week I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to see a special performance by the charity Chickenshed at the ITV studios. The charity has been operating for nearly forty years and it exists to give young people who have a disadvantage in life to experience theatre and the arts. And what a truly amazing job it is doing.
There must have been around 100 young performers from the very young to those in their early 20s. There were musical and dramatic performances, both performed to the highest standard and, as we heard from one young performer, the children had written some of the works themselves. It was incredible to see able bodied children and wheelchair users alike singing and dancing as one to their own creations.
Not only do they put on fantastic shows, the charity provides the opportunity for the children to achieve formal qualifications in the arts, one young man firstly completed a BTEC and is now studying for a degree. This opportunity his own circumstances may not have afforded he said.
And it seems it is not actually easy to leave the clutches of Chickenshed, as there were several reports of children who had benefited from the charity returning later in life to help provide opportunities for other young children.
It was also a night for the stars, as trustee and chief promoter Jonathan Shalit invited many of the charity’s celebratory supporters. At the end of the show they and other members of the audience, bid in a charity auction for some amazing prizes generously donated by supporters and many thousands of pounds were raised for the worthy cause.
It was really an amazing and inspiring evening and one not to be forgotten in a hurry.
So, if you’re interesting in setting up a charity and ever wondered whether charities really do make a difference then look no further than Chickenshed and look out for the show on ITV in the future, it’s not to be missed.