New project unveiled to help Looked After Children get into the Fringe
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society have launched a brand new scheme aimed at providing complimentary tickets to Fringe shows for children being cared for by the City of Edinburgh Council.The project, a partnership between the EFFS, the City of Edinburgh Council and Virgin Money, is called ‘Access Fringe – Looked-After Children’. It comes on the back of a successful pilot last year when, for the first time, tickets to Fringe shows were made available to children whose economic and social circumstances would not normally allow them to participate in cultural activity.
This August the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will see 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows from 49 countries in 313 venues across Edinburgh. The Fringe, which began on 07 August, and continues until 31 August, welcomes audiences and artists from all over the world, offering something for everyone - from theatre, dance, circus, physical theatre, comedy, music, musicals, opera, cabaret to variety, children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions, events and spoken word.
Over 1,400 young people and children are in the City of Edinburgh care system, and ‘Access Fringe – Looked-After Children’ will provide them with a unique opportunity to participate in the kind of cultural and entertainment opportunities readily available to many other children and young people.
Councillor Paul Godzik, Convener of the Children and Families Committee at City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Edinburgh’s festivals offer so much to our city, and it’s fantastic that the Fringe community have come together to support our looked after children and ensure that some of the most vulnerable people are fully part of the event.
“I’m delighted that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society and Virgin Money are working so closely with the Council on enhancing the lives of looked after children and I'm sure that the children who get the opportunity to go to these fantastic performances will have a great time when they do.
“There are over 1,400 children in the City of Edinburgh care system and I’m very proud that more and more of our local institutions and businesses are pledging to support these children and make sure that they have access to opportunities to grow and to flourish despite the challenges that they may face.”
Kath M. Mainland CBE, Chief Executive of the Fringe Society, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council and Virgin Money, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society is launching ‘Access Fringe – Looked-After Children’. We want to help provide some of the most disadvantaged children and young people in the City an opportunity to experience the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – an opportunity they would not normally have due to economic and social reasons.
“I truly believe access to, and engagement with the arts is fundamental for people of all ages and I’m overjoyed we are in the position to be able to offer young people and children of Edinburgh the chance to get involved and be inspired at this year’s Fringe.
“The Fringe Society is committed to making access to the festival a major plank of our work going forward. It is important that everyone who wants to come and be part of this festival – whether as performers or audience members – can do so. So this is one of a series of initiatives over the years to come to tackle the physical, economic, social and geographic barriers that stop people from participating.”
Support from Virgin Money has been crucial in getting the project off the ground and Paul Lloyd, Marketing Director at Virgin Money, said: “We are proud to support this initiative to help children in care in Edinburgh experience the wonder of the Fringe. We always welcome inclusive and community-spirited initiatives and we think that this is a brilliant example.”