Tesco Bags of Help Covid-19 Community fund is enabling local group Commedia of Errors to bring their plays to peoples homes this Christmas as theaters are forced to close during the pandemic.
Industrious as ever, the group are using the fund to bring their innovative live and interactive television experience to older audiences across Northern Ireland.
Through live streaming and video conferencing software, the company are beaming their hit variety show, ‘Plays Aloud’, direct to the TV’s of care homes, folds and dementia specialist facilities across Northern Ireland.
The grant from Tesco enabled the team to work tirelessly since Covid-19 hit to adapt and diversify – ensuring their cherished audiences are engaged and entertained during these difficult, lonely times.
The brainchild of local theatre makers Clare McMahon and Bejamin Gould, Plays Aloud is a speciailist theatre project for older people, with a particular focus on dementia and has been running since 2017. Using the popular variety-show style, four professional performers treat audiences to music, comedy, theatre and poetry in the comfort of their living-rooms.
Benjamin Gould from Commedia of Errors said: “Each performance is specially curated to invigorate and reenergise older audiences improving mental health and slowing dementia related decline”
“Covid-19 means that older people living in care are more isolated than ever, but thanks to Tesco’s help, we will be bringing our unique brand of music and joy to audiences this Christmas”
For those without internet access, they’re even offering bespoke personalised DVD’s so their show can be enjoyed again and again.
The project is proving to be very popular and has even been endorsed by one of Ireland’s national treasures – Daniel O’Donnell who described the project as inspiring.
Tony McElroy, Tesco’s Community Manager for Northern Ireland, added: “It’s wonderful to see the dedication of Commedia of Errors to help their local community. Covid-19 has left many people feeling alone and isolated. We will continue to support those in need and this shows first-hand how a Bags of Help grant can have a positive impact on local communities impacted by the pandemic”
To date, Tesco’s community support has:
Provided £2million of funding from its existing Bags of Help community donation scheme to charities that are helping the region’s most vulnerable.
Provided an additional top up food donation of £15million of food over the past 11 weeks to FareShare and the Trussell Trust through its Community Food Connection scheme – food they need for distribution to community groups and food banks.
Built on its existing partnership with the British Red Cross, seeing it donate £2million to help the group with the extra costs they face in supporting people in need.
Prior to Covid-19 Bags of Help offered grants of up to £2,000 to community projects, with 1,700 projects funded every three months. Each time they shopped, customers were invited to vote using a blue token provided at checkouts for their favourite project from three local choices. To respond quickly to the Covid-19 crisis Tesco has temporarily removed customer voting and created a streamlined application and payment process to make it easier to get funds out quickly to those who need help most. The new Bags of Help Covid-19 fund provides an easy to access grant of £500 to organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups during the pandemic.