The organizer of a circus skills group says it “means the world” to have won a competition organized by self-service ticketing platform Eventbrite to find “the most curious and colorful event ” from the United Kingdom.
Skylight Circus Arts, which is based in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, organizes circus lessons and workshops for people of different age groups, and also organizes sessions for people with disabilities, LGBTQIA teenagers and refugees from the whole world.
The group came out on top against 11 other finalists in the national experience technology platform competition and received £2,500 in cash and £2,500 in Eventbrite fee credits for their ability to foster “social connection thanks to its welcoming, inclusive and diverse events”. .
One person who has benefited from the group’s work is Linda, 71.
“A friend of a friend told me about Skylight, encouraging me to attend the Silver Circus sessions for the over 60s,” she says.
“I went there and everyone was very welcoming and the staff were great. They encouraged me to try things in my comfort zone and progress as I became more confident.
“That was four years ago and since then I’ve learned a lot of new skills – from juggling to diablo. I have also done aerial circus at many events – learning something I never thought I could do and then moving on to performing is a truly amazing experience at my age.
The money will be used to run classes and projects that Skylight was unable to secure funding for, including its Silver Circus class for the over 60s, drop-in classes and classes for young people, while fee credits will be used to spread the word about group activities.
David Allen, 51, from Bolton, who runs Skylight Circus Arts, said: “Winning this competition means the world to a small organization like ours and we actually clapped happily at a staff meeting when we received the call.”
He added that one of the group’s core values is to “teach circus with a purpose” and that each week they hold around 15 sessions.
Eventbrite’s Sebastian Boppert said the group’s work, which is “wonderfully different, diverse and inclusive” is “in a nutshell what Eventbrite is”.
Other finalists included a scarecrow-making workshop in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire, and an underwater photography session in Whitburn, West Lothian.
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