Last week, United Response’s Community Network, in Cheriton, put on a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ pantomime. They held three performances at the local Christchurch CEPAcademy school hall, each filled to full capacity with audiences in excess of 50 people.

Starting rehearsals just three months earlier, in October, they had assembled a varied group wanting to take part. Roles were filled organically and no-one was made to walk the plank to audition! The crew rehearsed throughout the stormy weather which fell on us over the Christmas period, determined to tell their tale of the high seas.

Those involved included individuals supported by United Response, local choir ‘The Warblers’, a ukulele band, arts and crafts groups, local school children and many more! The Mayor of Folkestone, Councillor Roger West attended and even made an impromptu cameo on stage! It was a real community effort. Although tickets were free, they raised over £380 through donations, some of which will be used to fund a new drama group set up by the cast.

Most noticeably, the pantomime has inspired new links within the community and some great friendships have formed between cast and crew members. One gentleman, previous to being supported by United Response, lost contact with his family and spent most of his life moving from place to place, which led him to feel incredibly isolated. Thanks to the pantomime he has made two new friends. They now invite him to their family days and even celebrated an early Christmas dinner together.

Projects like these are made possible through the Small Sparks scheme; funded by The Clothworkers’ Foundation and individuals that donated to the Small Sparks appeal. The scheme supports projects that create better relationships between the people we support and those in their wider local community.

If you’d like to help United Response support projects like these and many others, please visit our appeals page.

Sarah Riddlestone, fundraising administrator.