A grant Vivo Care Choices has given to Minerva Arts through its Community Fund is helping youngsters in Lache get involved with theatre during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Minerva has been delivering weekly youth theatre sessions in Lache since September 2018 to an enthusiastic group of local children and young people, but the pandemic put these on hold.

Given how many charities and community groups have had to adapt to the different circumstances, Vivo’s Community Fund has helped Minerva deliver online sessions instead.

Steph Meskell-Brocken, Artistic Director of Minerva Arts, said: “A broad range of ages and abilities take part and that can be difficult in one online session.

“We didn’t want to rush into this project as we weren’t sure what the access to technology would be like and how people would find it.

“We’ve been provided with some technology support and the grant from Vivo has now helped us bring in an extra member of staff to help with the sessions.

“The extra member of staff is there specifically to support young people with any concerns they may have during the session.

“Some families taking part struggle to get online and we support people with dyslexia and autism.

“It’s been a tough time for young people and their health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

“Having that person to check in with them before, during and after the sessions and chat over any worries they may have can make a big difference.

“We ran the project for six weeks and we’re now looking at some summer workshops. Four or five families were involved regularly and all really enjoyed the sessions.

“The small pots of funding like Vivo’s Community Fund are brilliant for us because the application process through Cheshire West Voluntary Action was really straightforward.

“We can also easily focus the funding on a particular project and design it specifically for people we’re supporting.”

Alistair Jeffs, Managing Director of Vivo, added: “It’s clear the funding has made a big difference to Minerva Arts and how it has been able to deliver these sessions.

“We’re pleased young people in Lache have been able to keep active during the pandemic and get involved in something they love.

“We hope it will encourage people to keep involved with theatre in the future and follow their aspirations.”

The Community Fund is worth £20,000 in total and has been split into two rounds of applications, with around £12,000 handed out so far and a second round of applications planned for September 2020. Full details for the second round of applications in September will be available in the coming months.