Four hundred special theatre tickets are being given free to children in Lewisham, who wouldn't normally be able to go.

The Albany, a performing arts centre in Lewisham, has received £4,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme to bring to life a new "Theatre trip for Every Child" campaign.

The funding will pay for 400 theatre tickets for Year 1 children in Lewisham, with the children coming from schools which have the most children eligible for free school meals.

The programme aims to engage with local children and their families, and to offer a special theatre experience to children who may not otherwise be able to afford to go.

Children from St Michael's School recently visited The Albany in Deptford (pictured) to see 'Pinocchio', part of the 'theatre trip for every child' campaign.

Gavin Barlow, Chief Executive at The Albany said: “The ‘A Theatre Trip for Every Child’ scheme is a great way of us being able to remind Lewisham residents that there’s an arts centre on their doorstep.

"The Tesco Bags of Help Scheme gives individuals the power to choose what they want to support.

"By voting, local people are contributing to a local primary school child’s first experience of theatre with us.”

A quarter of the population of Lewisham is under the age of 19, and the borough has the highest proportion of children and young people in economic deprivation in England.

Since launching in 2015, Begs of Help has provided more than £82m in funding to over 27,000 community projects.

Given a choice of three local projects, local Tesco customers in Lewisham chose The Albany to receive the funding.

Claire De Silva, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers who vote in Bags of Help and who get to decide how the funding will be spent in their community.

Funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit

"We’re delighted that we can help initiatives such as this to open up the theatre to young people, with The Albany who are really at the heart of their community.”