LAST week, West Kent Freemasons announced it has provided a £19,000 grant to Trinity Theatre to support its Speech Bubbles programme.
Speech Bubbles is a national primary school drama intervention scheme that supports children in Years 1 and 2 with communication skills, confidence, and wellbeing.
The drama-based intervention has been running nationally since 2008 and Trinity Theatre has been providing the initiative in Kent since 2017. They are delivering the programme across 16 Kent schools this year, meaning it benefits around 320 children across the county.
Mark Estaugh, Provincial Grand Master of the West Kent Freemasons told the Times: “Over the past two years, the Tunbridge Wells Masonic Centre (TWMC) has served as a rehearsal space for Trinity Theatre and graciously opened our doors to provide a venue for summer school programs.
“Recognising the financial challenges faced by Trinity Theatre, we have submitted a proposal to the Masonic Charity Foundation (MCF), seeking a £19,000 grant.
“This initiative aligns with our unwavering commitment to sustaining the crucial work of youth theatre, particularly the Speech Bubbles program. The collaborative support from TWMC and West Kent Freemasons underscores the strength of our community partnerships.”
As previously reported in the Times, the community arts centre was on the brink of closing at the start of 2023, with the theatre needing to raise £25,000 by the close of January and a further £100,000 by the end of February. It managed to bounce back following a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Mr Estaugh added: “Simultaneously, Trinity’s dedication extends to supporting Speech Bubbles in Kent, a vital intervention for Key Stage 1 school children grappling with language challenges. The MCF grant will ensure the continued implementation of this initiative in Kent, with anticipated positive outcomes in both learning and wellbeing.”
Speech Bubbles sessions are a different kind of experience to a clinical intervention. Practitioners work to create a low-pressure space which reduces anxiety, makes the children feel safe, and is also fun.
Trinity’s practitioners use a thoroughly proven structure and their expert knowledge of whole-body communication to promote children’s confidence and wellbeing.
Trinity Theatre Creative Engagement Director, Jason Lower commented: “We are thrilled that the Freemasons have chosen to support Trinity Theatre and its Speech Bubbles programme.
“Trinity is delighted to be able to run it in schools again this year and give children with speech, language and communication needs an opportunity to improve in these areas.”