Collective Encounters is thrilled to announce they have been awarded £198, 000 from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, £120, 000 from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and £106, 000 from Children in Need for theatre projects across Merseyside over the next four years.

Annette Burghes, Executive Director of Collective Encounters said: “We’re more than delighted with these awards and cannot thank the trustees of The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Children in Need enough. This new funding will enable Collective Encounters to establish a Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre, deliver artistic residencies in Bootle, Birkenhead and Knowsley, launch a new training programme for emerging and established artists, continue our work with young people including those who are in care or have recently arrived in the UK and strengthen the case for investment in the arts”.

Central to Collective Encounters’ mission is to enable everyone to benefit from cultural participation, production and enjoyment by removing barriers that some experience; 90% of Collective Encounters’ activity happens in public spaces such as libraries, parks, health care settings and community settings. All activities take place in accessible venues and language and other access support is put in place where required.

Beneficiaries of this new programme include those from communities across Merseyside. Artistic Director Sarah Thornton said: “We believe in the power of the arts to change lives, transform communities and stimulate debate on important social and political issues. That in these times when far too may have been left behind socially and economically it is the role of the arts to bring people together to share ideas, find connections and play out new possibilities”.

This positive funding news has also come at a time when the company is celebrating its 15th anniversary year.