Dec Matthew, Evie &Lyla theatre

Panto treat for Home-Start children


All dressed up with somewhere to go at last are siblings Matthew, Evie and Lyla. They are looking forward to their first visit to a Christmas pantomime with Mum Melissa and little sister Olivia.

The family will be heading to Winchester Theatre Royal’s Four Dames in search of a panto”.  The treat has been organised by Home-Start Winchester which has arranged for forty children and their parents to have an extra special Christmas treat during the school holiday. Senior co-ordinator Liz Stannard explained:

We are so thrilled that our children and their parents will be able to have a few hours laughter and relaxation during these safe performances at the theatre.  In a year that has been like no other, this year’Christmas season is sure to be like no other.

Parenthood is challenging enough in normal times but the Covid pandemic has added additional layers of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation for our vulnerable families. Through this year we have been there for families when they’ve needed support most.  We have seen social distancing and isolation placing enormous strain on people. But now it’s good to think that with this theatre trip we can really bring some fun back into family life.

Funding for the panto tickets has come from a Christmas campaign initiated by the John Lewis partnership and Waitrose. The campaign aims to create an outpouring of kindness in communities across the country.

The chair of Home-Start Winchester, Barry Page said the local organisation is working hard to maximise the benefit of the national partnership.

We have seen first-hand how the pandemic has pushed some families to the edge, especially those already facing significant challenges in their lives. There have been so many great initiatives in our community during the pandemic but we know there is so much more to do.

By working closely with local colleagues and their customers we want to spread the word about Home-Start’s family support.  By working together we can reach even more families and we are looking at innovative ways we can mitigate some of the setbacks of 2020.

To learn more about the work of Home-Start Winchester follow them on Facebook or Instagram or see their website:

Photo: Matthew, Evie & Lyla

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