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Gallagher staff rack up 82 hours of volunteering at the Belgrade

Posted on 16 March 2020

Members of staff from Gallagher insurance have been going the extra mile with their support of the Belgrade Theatre by giving up their time to help out with projects aimed at helping people to access theatre.

As well as investing financially in the Belgrade’s vital work in the community, staff at the company’s Coventry office have been getting hands on at the theatre, supporting its relaxed performance of Christmas pantomime Puss in Boots, as well as its Making Memories campaign, which funds opportunities for families in need to experience the magic of theatre.

Since joining the Belgrade’s growing ranks of corporate supporters in February 2019, Gallagher has put forward twelve fantastic volunteers – Barbara Dainty, Sue Chrascina, Hannah Nicholson, Liz Harrison, Kayleigh McKenzie, Ben Thomas, Debbie Moss, Katheryn Moon, Louise Hargrave, Charlotte Kelly, Christine Lee and Josh Austin – who between them have racked up a total of 82 hours of volunteering, amounting to almost one full working day each.

Relaxed performances are specially adapted to provide an open and welcoming environment for those who may benefit from a more laid-back performance style, such as those with autism spectrum conditions, learning disabilities, sensory and communication disorders or dementia. As well as being on hand to assist audience members as required, the Gallagher team also put forward Josh as a “stooge” to get messy on stage during the panto’s “slosh scene”. Hosting a relaxed performance is always an ambitious undertaking, so it’s invaluable for the theatre to have extra hands and friendly faces ready to step in as required.

Volunteers from Gallagher's Coventry office at the Belgrade Theatre

Meanwhile, Making Memories volunteers from Gallagher assisted with post-show bucket collections for the campaign, which in 2019-20 raised a record-breaking £12,755, enough to fund 775 Puss in Boots tickets for 183 local families, thanks in part to the efforts of their volunteers. Gallagher staff also supported the distribution of panto tickets to the families facing difficult financial circumstances who were able to benefit from the campaign.

And as if giving up their time to support the theatre wasn’t enough, the Coventry branch also nominated the Belgrade for the Gallagher Community Award, which comes from a fund set up by Arthur J Gallagher to help local community charities. Each Gallagher office in the UK is invited to nominate a local charity to receive awards ranging from £500 to £2000, and thanks to the efforts of the Coventry office, the Belgrade was allocated the top award of £2000 in recognition of the value that its wide range of education, outreach and talent development projects bring to the community.

Barbara Dainty, Senior Account Manager at Gallagher, said: “Gallagher believe that we should support local charities where possible. As part of the Gallagher culture, we are encouraged to get involved with the local community, helping with volunteering for good causes and helping to raise funds for local charities.

“Working with the Belgrade throughout 2019 has given us opportunities to raise funds for the Making Memories campaign and to volunteer at both Making Memories and relaxed performances of Puss in Boots. The staff who were involved really appreciated the opportunity to volunteer and certainly felt that as well as giving their time, they also gained from the experiences. We look forward to working with the Belgrade again in 2020.”

Helen Hotchkiss, Head of Development at the Belgrade Theatre, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the support of Gallagher who have thrown themselves fully into our charity work. Their enthusiasm to volunteer and fundraise is incredible, they really are playing their part in supporting the communities of Coventry.”

The Belgrade Theatre Trust is a registered charity (number 219163) which means that all money given to, raised or earned by the theatre is not distributed as profit but instead reinvested in the organisation’s work, including its wide range of community, education and talent development projects.

If you are interested in finding out more about how your business can support the Belgrade through volunteering or donations, please contact Development Officer Maddie Difford at corporates@belgrade.co.uk. For more information about why we are a charity, visit our Support Us page.