Praise for team supporting south Shropshire theatre’s return from pandemic

Music and performance workshops for young people paid for by a Shropshire social prescribing grant have helped a theatre pull through the pandemic.

Bishop Castle’s SpArC Theatre
Bishop Castle’s SpArC Theatre

Bishop Castle’s SpArC Theatre has been helped by the leisure team at Shropshire Council to reset its programme after the pandemic restrictions were lifted.

The social prescribing scheme started in Shropshire in 2017, and is part of the NHS Long Term Plan. It is a non-medical programme designed to help people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs.

The NHS has committed that at least 900,000 people will benefit from social prescribing by 2024.

Now the theatre has heaped praise on the council for the support it has given.

Tim Russell, who chairs Enterprise South West Shropshire, has written to the council and service leaders to express his thanks.

He said: “Since the theatre reopened for a second time in May 2021, we have had more than 1,000 visits to our events, despite working with a reduced capacity to keep our audiences safe.

"We wanted to say thank you, and to acknowledge that this would not have been possible without the underpinning support of Shropshire Council and the direct support of the Shropshire team that took over management of the SpArC Leisure Centre at the start of the pandemic.

“With your support the SpArC Theatre programme has continued to include an eclectic range of events, from films and workshops, to live music and theatre.

"We are particularly proud of the music and performance workshops for young people made possible this year by a Shropshire social prescribing grant."

Mr Russell added that more than 50 young people have accessed and benefited from the scheme so far.

"Seeing some of them perform for the first time on stage at our open mic nights with the overwhelming support of their families and friends was a real privilege,” he added.

Councillor Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport, said: “The effects of the pandemic have been far-reaching and are well documented.

“Community facilities such as the SpArC Theatre make a huge contribution to our wellbeing and recovery.

"It is a pleasure to hear that Shropshire Council and the leisure team on the ground at SpArC have been instrumental in helping keep the theatre on track and available to both audiences and performers.

“This demonstrates how strong partnerships can succeed in delivering benefits for our communities.”

Councillor Ruth Houghton, who represents Bishop's Castle on Shropshire council, said: "Having the SpArC Theatre up and running again has been a welcome boost to the local community after restrictions were eased.

"The theatre is a highly-valued and well-used local resource. The varied programme includes something for everyone and has been well supported by Bishop’s Castle residents as well as supporters from the wider community in south west Shropshire.

To find out more about social prescribing visit: https://shropshire.gov.uk/shropshire-choices/i-need-help/social-prescribing-in-shropshire/

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