Big Breaks campaign

What would you do if I said you could change a young person’s life right now? 

The Garage Trust’s mission is simple. To use the power of dance, drama, and music to give disadvantaged youngsters across Norfolk a brighter future.

Youth support organisations are under immense pressure. More than half of those surveyed for a 2021 UK Youth report were operating at a reduced level. Nearly a quarter had been forced to close, either temporarily or permanently. 

There are now nearly 800 less youth centres than there were 10 years ago. In the 2016 State of the Nation report, social mobility in Norwich, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk was among the worst in England. Limiting youngsters’ prospects, and leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and neglect. 

That’s where our Big Breaks bursaries scheme comes in. Since 2013, our support team has helped thousands of disadvantaged children and young people, with 90% of participants seeing a positive change to their lives.

We work with partner organisations like schools, statutory bodies, local councils, and charities similar to ourselves to make sure help goes to those who need it most. Big Breaks recipients get to:

  • Develop valuable life skills to be the best they can be via performance, and learning to work in teams

  • Boost their aspirations, confidence, sense of belonging, and pride in themselves

  • Access our popular school holiday programmes

  • Have help with associated costs like transport, dancewear and equipment

  • Have chances to gain nationally recognised Arts Awards qualifications

  • Enjoy Big Nights Out trips for children and their families, so they can have positive experiences together

  • Take part on a Creative Foundations course which gives participants the confidence to develop their skills at The Garage, leading to free annual membership to our dance, theatre or music classes

We have more disadvantaged young people referred to us than we have resources. 

  • £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

  • £300 pays for qualification costs for 10 young people

  • £500 pays for five weeks delivery of our Creative Foundations Course

To make a donation click on the Charities Aid Foundation logo below. Every pound you donate boosts our young participants’ confidence, their sense of belonging, gives them pride in themselves, and the life skills to be the best they can be. 


If you’ve given to us before, thank you. Your contribution is making someone’s life better. 

If you can’t spare a pound, your time’s just as valuable. Perhaps you could donate some houseplant cuttings, home-bakes or knitwear for us to sell. If you or any groups with which you’re involved are looking for a charity to fundraise for, please consider us.

If you’d like to help in some way, please get in touch with marketing officer Wayne Savage at and let’s give disadvantaged children and young people the break they deserve.

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

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