John Lyon’s Charity bridges funding gap to support schools continue to provide theatre trips despite budget cuts.

  • One in five 16–24-year-olds said they would never have seen a Christmas show or pantomime were it not for their school.
  • 22% of 16–24-year-olds said that school is the only opportunity where they could go on a trip to the theatre.[1]

A new survey reveals that one in five young people would have never experienced the joy of a Christmas show or pantomime were it not for the trips available at their school. However, with budget cuts on the rise, the reality is looking bleak for many schools who are having to cut back on their school trips and outings, including opportunities such as going to the theatre.

John Lyon’s Charity, one of London’s leading Grant-Givers in the Children and Young People’s sector is on a mission to close this gap to ensure that all children experience the magic of theatre. The Charity is urging schools based in North and West London to apply to its Cultural Capital Fund, which directly funds theatre trips and other cultural opportunities for state schools.

Earlier this year, The Sutton Trust revealed that 50% of schools from the most disadvantaged communities were being forced to cut back on trips and outings, compared to 21% last year. [2] The lack of Government funding is putting significant pressure on schools to be able to deliver essential opportunities, such as trips and outings. As a result, funding from organisations such as John Lyon’s Charity is needed now more than ever to ensure children and young people are privy to the same opportunities as anyone else.

Wayne Bate, Assistant Headteacher at Gifford Primary School said: “Funding from John Lyon’s Charity’s Cultural Capital Fund enabled our Year 6 pupils to attend the theatre production of Wicked. The impact of this experience on our students, particularly those from deprived areas, was truly remarkable.  I conducted an assembly and asked the pupils to raise their hands if they had previously attended a West End musical and was astounded to find that less than 10 pupils out of 123 raised their hands. Gifford Primary School is immensely grateful for this funding as external theatre trips and outings are becoming more and more difficult due to drastic budget cuts.”

Dr. Lynne Guyton, CEO of John Lyon’s Charity said: “With ongoing budget cuts coupled with the Cost of Living crisis, it is no surprise that schools are feeling the financial squeeze and having to cut experiential activities like trips and theatre visits. We created the Cultural Capital Fund because we believe that everyone is entitled to experience the beauty of theatre.  Starting a theatre-going habit for children will ensure diverse audiences for the future and not just the privileged few. The Cultural Capital Fund is, and always will be, about equity in cultural capital for all children and young people.  We want to remind schools that through our Cultural Capital Fund, we can help give students an opportunity to experience the magic and wonder of theatre and alleviate some of the financial pressures. Please apply, we want to help bridge this budget gap!” Since launching the Cultural Capital Fund in 2021 as a direct response to the pandemic, the Charity has awarded 251 schools in grants, supporting around 50,000+ children thus far. To find out more about John Lyon’s Charity and its Cultural Capital Fund, please click here.

[2] School Funding and Pupil Premium 2023 – Sutton Trust

[1] Research: Insight conducted by market research company Opinion Matters between the dates 06.10.2023 – 09.10.2023. The research surveyed a sample of 2002 16+ adults.