New Vic Theatre and the Denise Coates Foundation will strengthen their partnership across the next five years, following a pledge by the Foundation to give half a million pounds to the theatre to support its ground-breaking Borderlines community programme.

The Foundation will give £500,000 over a five-year period to the New Vic’s community outreach programme, to help support the venue’s ongoing work with disadvantaged and vulnerable young people in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

Launched in 1999, New Vic Borderlines works with individuals, groups and communities facing social and economic challenges, including young people at risk of offending, children and young people in care, young carers and others at risk of being marginalised. The aim of the programme is to use theatre to help individuals find new and positive ways to better understand themselves, their communities and their responsibilities, and is acknowledged as a national model for the ways theatre can be used to work within the community.

Jackie Rowe, a Specialist Teacher supporting young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties who has previously worked with New Vic Borderlines, said: “Borderlines offers a unique freedom of expression for young people who would otherwise have little or no escape from the chaos and uncertainty of what life for them is. They are free from judgement in a safe unthreatening environment where ideas and creativity flourish with a lasting support.”

Fiona Wallace, New Vic Executive Director, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Denise Coates Foundation for its generous support of New Vic Borderlines. This partnership will make a real and much needed difference to the lives of local children and young people from disadvantaged communities. Last year we worked with nearly 15,000 young people and this support will help us to continue our work, and enable us to offer further support to the children of struggling families through a number of planned projects.”

Denise Coates CBE, Denise Coates Foundation, said: “Theatre can be an enriching source of education, inspiration and pleasure. The Borderlines programme engages those that may not otherwise gain exposure to the activities and to an environment that will expand their life experiences and encourage them to push and challenge themselves creatively. The Programme has the potential to make such a positive difference to individuals’ lives which is at the core of what the Denise Coates Foundation exists to do. This is why the Foundation has made a substantial long-term commitment to provide financial support to the work undertaken by the New Vic.”

The new partnership will continue the relationship between the theatre and the Foundation, which began in 2015 when the Foundation supported the theatre-in-the-round’s artistic work and building upgrade.