Grand Opera House Announces 2016 Charity

Leading UK organisation will benefit from funds raised at the theatre's winter shows in addition to sponsored outdoor challenges in the New Year

The Grand Opera House has announced Mencap as its official charity of the year, just in time for the opening night of the Belfast theatre's 2015 panto production.

To raise money for the UK-wide organisation, which supports people with learning difficulties, bucket collections will be carried out at performances of Snow White from November 28 to December 7.

Some staff will also take part in a variety of extreme sports and outdoor activities in the coming months including abseils, sky dives and zip line challenges, while others will form relay teams to participate in the 2016 Belfast City Marathon, official charity partner of Mencap.

Grand Opera House Partnership and Development Manager, Áine Dolan, said: 'The Grand Opera House has raised more than £40,000 for charity since 2009, and we are very excited to be raising money for Mencap this year.

'We will kick off with public donations at performances of this year’s pantomime and we have many activities planned for the New Year. We believe Mencap is a truly worthy cause and we are confident our staff and audience members will dig deep to support the organisation.'

GOH Snow White Panto Launch

To launch the partnership, Dolan was joined by Area Fundraising Manager for Mencap, Justine Curran, and Nicole Gant, a member of Mencap affiliate group Crossroads and Carrick Senior Gateway Club. An avid fan of the theatre, Gant has been learning to read thanks to help from volunteers at the Gateway Club. 

Speaking from the launch, Curran added: 'Our new partnership with the Grand Opera House is one of the best gifts our charity can receive at this time of year and we’re so grateful.

'The next few years are going to be very important for us, as our new Mencap Centre opens in January. While the building is almost complete, this milestone is just the start of what we hope to achieve for the children and young people with a learning disability and their families.

'Money raised by Grand Opera House will go to towards providing essential services in the new centre and we can’t thank them enough for their support. With their efforts alongside other local businesses Mencap can launch new services and projects to support more children with a learning disability.

'Hopefully, their dedication and enthusiasm encourages other businesses to support Mencap this festive season and into the New Year.'

Find out more about Mencap and donate at www.mencapbigstepforward.org/donate. Tickets for Snow White are now on sale at www.goh.co.uk/snow-white.