North West Big Local Trust knows that lack of funds will often be a barrier to someone from fulfilling their potential. Part of what we do at Big Local is about recognising the talent and initiative of people in our area where sometimes a bit of funding can make all the difference.
As part of our Inspiration Awards, which are available to any resident of the area who meets certain criteria agreed by resident members, we funded a young person to help achieve their dream of becoming a children’s entertainer.
Some years ago, 11 year old Tommy Bradshaw, a pupil at one of our local High Schools was identified as someone who fitted the bill. At the time his mum said “We couldn’t afford to get him a new booth to use for his Punch and Judy performances as it wouldn’t be fair on the other children. He was making do with a homemade stand constructed by his dad. But this is what he loves to do and having heard of the Inspiration Award we found a way to support him. People love his shows, it’s a unique talent and they are always surprised when a little boy appears at the end.”
Five years on we recently caught up with Tommy, and this is what he says about his Big Local Inspiration Award:
The Big Local Trust were very generous to me for supplying my Punch and Judy theatre. I started Punch and Judy at the age of 5 when a lady based in Claydon came to do a show for my family’s Halloween party, ever since then I’ve always pursued to be a children’s entertainer.
It came to a few years ago when I was in need of a professional Punch and Judy booth to perform. Luckily I managed to get in contact with the North West Ipswich Big Local Trust and I’m so glad the Trust decided to help me out. A few years has now passed by, I am now sixteen years of age and whilst I am studying at college, I am still performing Punch and Judy in the very same booth, as well as other things I do such as children’s discos, children’s magic shows, mascot costumes and more.
The Big Local Trust has helped me so much for doing this as the booth I got with the grant can fold up nice and small so I am able to travel with ease. Me and my Punch and Judy show have travelled all around Suffolk and beyond. Every May in Covent Garden in London there is a Punch and Judy festival and thanks to the folding booth, I am able to take part in this using public transport. As soon as I leave education I intend to make this my fulltime job.Tommy Bradshaw, NW Ipswich BLT Inspiration Awardee
We are all so proud of you Tommy and delighted to have supported you on your way to a successful future. You have helped us tick 3 of our boxes: supporting young people, recognising talent and initiative, and enterprise – well done!