Support Us

help us raise £10K

Big Breaks is 10-years-old this year. We’re asking you to support us by going that extra mile this summer and signing up to our Smiles campaign. The goal is to raise £10,000 so we can continue to give even more young people in challenging circumstances across Norfolk a safe place to access our drama, dance, music classes, and holiday activities for free. 

Big Breaks has given support to nearly a thousand 7-to-18-year-olds in challenging circumstances across Norfolk. Ninety percent of them tell us their confidence, self-esteem, sense of purpose, motivation, mental health, and happiness has grown. More about that below. 

The number of people applying for Big Breaks help has tripled since January. 

More than half of youth support organisations surveyed for a 2021 UK Youth report are operating at a reduced level. Nearly a quarter have had to close. 

Services for children and young people are under significant pressure as demand grows and the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite. 

Nearly 19% of children in Norfolk live in low-income families, significantly above the average for statistically similar councils of around 16% – limiting their chances to take part in life-skill boosting activities. 

The number of 16-to-18-year-olds in Norfolk at risk of finding themselves out of education, employment or training is above the regional average and only just in line with national averages. A comparatively high number of those are from deprived backgrounds in the urban areas of Norwich and King’s Lynn, where our sister venue The Workshop does amazing work. 

One in six children and young people are thought to have an emerging or diagnosable mental health need – up from one in nine in 2017. Norfolk has seen 50% more children and young people accessing therapeutic support for their mental health needs compared to two years ago.

We work with partner organisations like schools, statutory bodies, local councils, and charities similar to ourselves to make sure Big Breaks gives support to those who need it most. 

£10 pays for one hour-long-class for a young person

£15 pays for a support worker to help young people in one of our classes

£60 pays for transport costs for a young person to attend a class for a month

£100 pays for a young person to enjoy a term of drama, dance or music classes

£395 pays for a young person to enjoy our school holiday programmes like our Big Summer Production

We’re encouraging people to step up and get sponsored to walk, run, cycle, swim, conga – whatever works for you – one of four distances between 2 and 20 miles between now and 22 September.Donate to our Smiles for Big Breaks campaign

Just click on the image above to be taken to our Donorbox page and hit the I want to fundraise for this button to start your journey. 

If you’re unable to complete one of the distances but would still like to support us, please consider making a one-off or regular gift by hitting the Donate button. Your contribution – no matter the size – will make a huge difference. 

We’re help to help every step of the way. If you have any questions or need tips, please email

“My nine-year-old son G, and his twin brother suffered with separation anxiety. They didn’t want to do anything, went to bed crying, every school morning they were crying. Every day was full of trauma. It’s been exhausting. The school referred G to The Garage. He’s like a different child. He’s confident, outgoing, tries new things. It’s been life changing for the whole family. I’m so grateful.” 

“My son L is 15.  He has ASD and ADHD and had a tough time with one thing and another. He was this little shell. He was depressed, hurt himself, couldn’t go out, couldn’t hold a conversation with anyone. He was recommended to The Garage through his therapist. He’s a changed child. It’s incredible how he presents and vocalises himself. We’re now even talking about college. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened for him. I’m forever in debt to the brilliant team that supports him and for the scheme. Our life is finally back on track.” 

Marney Meakin Fund

A new charitable fund established in memory of the late Marney Meakin, fondly remembered by so many who have passed through the doors of The Garage in Norwich over the years.

The Garage Trust is pleased to set up this charitable fund, in honour of the late Marney Meakin. Fondly remembered here in her role as Front of House Manager, she gave so many theatre professionals their first chance in the industry, and inspired many more to pursue their passion for the arts. This fund will celebrate that immeasurable contribution, and continue to help and inspire future participants, through bursaries and provisions, giving access to our programmes for those who need it.

Adam Taylor, Executive Director of The Garage Trust, said this of Marney’s legacy and of her importance at The Garage:

“Many of us worked with Marney for some time, from her days at the Theatre Royal and here at The Garage when she retired. Many of us owe so much to the amazing woman who cared deeply about our work. Marney’s Legacy within The Garage is only just starting. Your support will help us start a scholarship in Marney’s memory and that work begins in earnest with a fundraising performance of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets by her dear friend and The Garage patron Peter Wilson, on 14 November . Her family know how much she was loved by us and we will miss her.”

Marney Meakin inspired so many, some who still work here at The Garage, to pursue their passion for theatre and performance. We are honoured to continue such a legacy by helping children and young people struggling to access the arts. Your donation will go a long way, for example:

  • £15 pays for a support worker session to help young people in one of our classes.
  • £70 pays for a young person to enjoy a term of drama, dance or music classes
  • £180 pays for a young person to enjoy our school holiday programmes.

To make a donation visit our page on Charities Aid Foundation:


The Garage Trust is an independent charity established in 2002. Since opening, a wide range of trusts, foundations, grant giving bodies, statutory organisations, businesses and other supporters have helped us raise the funds to develop our programme, projects and activities. Although we provide opportunities for all ages, much of our work is focused on supporting young people, particularly those that are disadvantaged, vulnerable or with the fewest opportunities.

The staff, Board of Trustees and all the young people who use The Garage would like to say a big thank you to all our current and past supporters, a selection of which are below:

Image of funders/supporters of The Garage
Kickstart Scheme

What partners say