What People Say
“Spotlight UK isn’t just a great place to learn new skills, but it’s also a place where all kinds of different people come together and accept one another as equals... The centre has changed my family’s life, by showing them how to grow by themselves and learn new skills independently.”
“I just wanted to say what a wonderful place Spotlight is. It has made such a difference to my daughter who joined when you first opened. She has turned from someone shy and timid, who was bullied, into someone who shines and has grown in confidence... We could never afford to send her to a theatre school or dance school.”
“Spotlight is an amazing place to be, it has helped me with my skills and confidence in drama, and has helped me to meet new people and make new friends.”
“I’ve been attending Spotlight classes now for over 2 years, and they have been the best years of my life... Without Spotlight, I have no idea what I would be doing every night and weekend.”
“My daughter has moderate learning difficulties and sometimes mixing with mainstream children can be a challenge to her. At Spotlight everyone is accepted for who they are. My daughter has got a lot out of going there and has met many friends... I can't believe the change in her, along with her growing confidence, she has got more independent and has learnt a great deal from mixing with her peers.”
Spotlight isn’t just a great place to learn new skills, but it’s also a place where all kinds of different people come together and accept one another as equals. In the world we live in today not many people have the same views, but at Spotlight everyone is welcome.
My children and I ran from a violent home and now we are trying to rebuild our lives, the centre has changed my family’s life, by showing them how to grow by themselves and learn new skills. My children used to be unruly, but coming to the centre has shown them it’s not only us who have problems.
It would break my little one’s hearts to know that the centre might close and our safe haven has gone, so please if there is any spare money, don’t forget the great cause that is Spotlight.
Hi Michaela and Team
I just wanted to say what a wonderful place Spotlight is. It has made such a difference to Bethany who joined when you first opened.
She has turned from someone shy and timid, who was bullied, into someone who shines and has grown in confidence. Never would I have believed, when she started, that she would ever get up on stage but you have turned her life around. She loves to dance and is good at it (well I think she is!) and has amazed us by getting up on stage, dancing and performing with growing confidence. From her first appearance in Annie to the Summer School Jungle Book, World War II and Aladdin workshops and shortly a shared largish part in Romeo and Juliet she has come on in leaps and bounds. She has made a lovely group of friends at Spotlight and not only is she learning new skills but has fun too. We could never afford to send her to a theatre school or dance school - their prices are too high but here she has learnt skills and more importantly gained confidence in herself, so much so she started LAMDA this year.
Personally I can’t thank you and Alex and more recently Matt, amongst others for turning her life around. I think you are all amazing and long may you continue to give children like Bethany this opportunity.
Spotlight is an amazing place to be. It has helped me with my skills and confidence in drama, and has helped me to meet new people and make new friends. I always feel safe when in the centre, and feel that I can be myself. The teachers are encouraging, helpful and friendly, helping me to improve in drama, as well as igniting my love of Shakespeare!
I am Hollie Parks and I am 14.
I’ve been attending Spotlight classes now for over 2 years, and they have been the best years of my life. Michaela has done an amazing job with running this sociable, affordable and homely place I spend half of my life at! When we got the building in Popley last year, everything got better. We now have a safe place in which we can just have fun and forget schoolwork and problems. Faye has been teaching me dance now for 2 years and I can’t thank her enough for the confidence and my passion for dance she has given me.
Without Spotlight, I have no idea what I would be doing every night and weekend. Spotlight have put on so many amazing fund raising days and none of them have failed to make every child and parent smile when they are there, no matter how big or small they are. One of the best things about Spotlight is the family feel you get when you arrive at the centre. Even if you are new, you will soon be joining in with the jokes, hard work and smiles that happen every session.
Some of the most important work Spotlight does is with special needs and disabled children and adults. It is simply amazing to see these children’s confidence has been sky rocketed up because of spotlights work. They take part with everything Spotlight has to offer, and get involved with the shows and fetes.
Since my daughter joined Spotlight last year she has taken part in three productions and it has really helped with her confidence. My daughter has moderate learning difficulties and sometimes mixing with mainstream children can be a challenge to her. At Spotlight everyone is accepted for who they are. My daughter has got a lot out of going there and has met many friends. She goes there in the holidays and really enjoys herself. I can't believe the change in her, along with her growing confidence, she has got more independent and has learnt a great deal from mixing with her peers. Courtney would be devastated if Spotlight were to finish. It means such a lot to her and both she and I have a lot to be thankful for. The team at Spotlight work well together and seem to really enjoy their work. It's like one big happy family and they have made my daughter feel part of that.
Thank you so much.
Spotlight for Darren and I is fab, simply fab!
Reece and Mya have been coming along to Spotlight now for over two years and they love it. They have met so many friends, of all types which is really good because they mix with different types of people. Their confidence has grown dramatically. Before Spotlight they would never have even considered doing any performances of any types, they were quite shy. Now Reece will get up there and do most things, he still needs to work on his confidence but he has developed so much and he loves helping the younger ones. Mya still being young her confidence is getting there but improved so much.
All the teachers at Spotlight are so caring and friendly. Spotlight is so different to other clubs the children have ever been too. You can approach all the teachers here and they will discuss with you at any time about your child and they are so full of praise. Spotlight to us is like family.
Reece and Mya come along to several classes. They do Theatre school on Saturday and they do so much Street Dancing it is fab. It means they are with their friends and away from the T.V. They are active all the time and the most important thing is that they are so happy at Spotlight. Happy children equals happy parents.
Sandra & Darren
I thought it would be appropriate to write and say thank you to Spotlight. Will has blossomed since attending your drama activities. It has built his confidence and provided him with a place to meet new friends from different backgrounds. It has provided him with the chance to mix with children with learning disabilities and has made him empathetic to their needs. I feel this is important in this day and age to ensure children are accepting of each other. He finds presenting in class enjoyable and this year was chosen at school to give a speech for the English department at the Speech competition. He was also invited to join the debating society. I believe the life skills he has learnt at Spotlight has given him his enthusiasm and love for Drama and English.
I appreciate all the work the team put into providing such affordable activities in a supportive and fun environment.
Spotlight has been an invaluable learning tool because it enables and incorporates interaction, social skills and confidence building to such a high level between children. I have two foster children placed with me and since they have been attending Spotlight they have blossomed with their social skills, becoming relaxed and happy singing and dancing. This has been a base to make and improve friendships with their peers. This is something school could not do due to the lesson schedules and time available within the school day. My foster children and my own children have attended a number of courses and they have loved every minute of it. The staff are all dedicated and very hard working, they've brought their own individuality to Spotlight and they have left such an impression. Without Spotlight's support over the past 3 years we would have struggled to get our children to where they are now within themselves and we owe Spotlight a huge debt of gratitude and thanks for all their hard work and support.
We really want to thank you for the amazing difference that you have made to Daisy in just a few short months. She has always been shy and very self conscious. Over her eight years of life we have sent her to ballet, tap, gymnastics, drama, ice skating etc at various different clubs around Basingstoke, in the hope that she would lose some of her self consciousness and maybe find something that she was good at and that would build her self esteem. Every club was the same. We had to cajole her into going and then watch as she went through what to her was a painful experience. She always hated to join in or do anything where she felt like people might be watching her.
School identified that she had confidence issues and did their best to help but still she was painfully shy. At school performances she would stand in the crowd scene or the choir, bright red. She would say 'Mummy, I don't like doing the play, it makes my eyes water,' and sure enough we would sit in the audience watching her wipe away fought back tears as she tried desperately not to cry. At birthday parties Daisy wouldn't join in with any party games, if there was dancing she was mortified. At one point she wouldn't even attend parties as she worried that she might have to join in with activities. School discos were out of the question. As parents it was so hard watching your child sit on the sidelines and miss out on the fun. Daisy is the second of six children and all the others seemed to be happy and confident (in varying degrees of course) but we just couldn't understand what we could do to help Daisy to relax and enjoy herself.
In January David was made redundant. We had six children, a mortgage, cars etc and as I was a stay at home mum, neither of us had jobs.
One day a Spotlight leaflet came home from school. I believe that it was distributed to all children from low income families and who were eligible for free school meals. On it was advertised a 'confidence' course. We phoned to enquire and spoke to Michaela who told us that unfortunately the course would not be running in the new term but why not get Daisy to try LAMDA. She explained that LAMDA stood for London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and they did grades and worked towards exams. Well there was no way that Daisy would go anywhere near something like that. She would rather die than go to something that involved the word drama!
Even though we wanted to help Daisy to overcome her anxieties we thought that putting her through a LAMDA class would simply be cruel. We told Michaela that we would think about it and maybe talk to Daisy. Over the next few weeks Michaela contacted us several times and encouraged us to bring Daisy along. We were still unsure but Michaela told us how good the tutor was and that she had explained to him all about Daisy. Eventually we spoke to Daisy. She was horrified but we told her that we would like her just to go to the first class and give it a try. With lots of persuading and bribery she eventually agreed to go as long as Mummy stayed with her.
Matt, the tutor, was amazing. He explained clearly what the class was about and what was expected of the children. He seemed to know just what to do to help Daisy to relax and enjoy herself yet at no time did he pander to her or treat her differently to the other children. Matt appears to be able to create an environment where the children feel safe and secure enough to step outside their comfort zone a little. He is very matter of fact, yet very encouraging and is able to communicate well with them, building their trust and therefore their confidence.
After just a few months of LAMDA with Matt the change in Daisy is amazing. She is able to have fun and mess around like a child should. She will put herself forward for things and not worry about people watching her. She can talk to people she doesn't know. Last night she even dressed up and knocked on doors shouting 'trick or treat'- something that she wouldn't even have contemplated before.
Without Spotlight this would not have been possible. Due to both Michaela persuading us to bring Daisy in the first place and of course due to Matt for doing such an amazing job. But also because Daisy would not even have had the opportunity to attend had it not been for the funding that Spotlight has provided. We simply don't have the money for extracurricular activities at the moment. It is amazing that an organisation exists that is willing to help children without any financial gain. Thank you for everything that you have done to help Daisy so far. She really is a much happier, more relaxed little girl and for that we are very, very grateful.
Vicki and David Blackburn
Without Spotlight there would be a huge black hole in my life that nothing else could EVER replace, because there is no other place like Spotlight. They are my family and we stick together through the hard times, and through the best times, and in the end we are all there for each other no matter what! Nothing will ever come close to the feeling I get when I dance with my best friends and the most amazing coaches.
My son Cy comes to Spotlight for various activities. He feels very welcomed and comfortable with his Spotlight family.
Cy is 13 years old, full of energy but has never found activities in the area that he felt comfortable in. Spotlight is like a second family/home to him.
We all feel as a family that Spotlight is a wonderful place full of many great opportunities for everyone. We all enjoy coming to Spotlight to watch all of the super shows the young people produce.
Spotlight are the only centre that I know of in this area that are not only very diverse with their activities but also very inclusive of all. They run a great number of different activities but also offer the opportunity to run any activity the young or old would like, as long as there is enough interest. This allows great participation from the community.
I would recommend any charity sponsors to visit the centre and see for themselves what a positive affect Spotlight has on the community. If you speak to anyone there they will tell you how they love this centre and the difference it has made to them. I hear children saying they enjoy the centre constantly and feel the reason for this is the way the staff treat everyone equally, everyone is always included in all shows and activities no matter what your ability. This gives great confidence to everyone and a sense of belonging. There are no longer many places children can go to that have open doors for them and a friendly welcome. The communal area is open to all most of the time with free Internet access.
It's nice to be part of a group who are using all funds for the community rather than profit. This I feel is a good role model for our young people of today. Helping and giving to others without wanting something back. I see many of the older children helping and inspiring the younger children. I feel Spotlight encourage good relations and life skills for all.
I find Spotlight to have a holistic approach, they listen to what people want, they encourage all to take part and be part of everything, nothing is ever too much trouble. They meet the needs for many disadvantaged, disabled or troubled people and are very openly friendly and supportive.
It's so nice to have Spotlight in Popley.
Congratulations to the Spotlight team for running such a precious centre.
Thank you so much for all of the hard work and commitment, I really appreciate all you do for everyone.
I just wanted to say a BIG thank you to Spotlight. Everyone at Spotlight does a fantastic job and my sons (ages 12 & 9) love coming to you. They have been attending the holiday clubs for the last 18 months, and my eldest son also does LAMDA and has passed his first exam (with a merit J) and is now working towards the next level, they also both enjoy the Street dance classes. They think Spotlight is the best holiday club around and I think what is especially nice is the mix of ages and abilities you cater for. There aren’t many clubs that secondary school children can attend so not only can they go together, but it means my eldest son isn’t sat at home on his own all day playing computer games or hanging around the streets while I am at work! They get to meet new people and have learnt to dance, act, sing and express themselves confidently. My eldest son’s confidence has since soared and my youngest son has even got a part in the Pantomime, so thanks again Spotlight for everything you do, and I hope you can continue for many years to come!
(Nathan and Ashley’s mum)
I would like to thank you all at Spotlight for the amazing work you do. It is unlike any other centre, it has a heart beating in it!
The impact on Jacob of the first shows he has ever been in such as Michael Jackson and High School Musical is enormous and he has absolutely LOVED it!
The whole family love the centre and use it as much as we can. Maggie loves the dance lessons and I love the charity shop and the odd coffee and biscuit!
Well done to all involved,
Spotlight started for me two years ago. At that point I needed an escape as, my mum was sadly diagnosed with breast cancer. This was very hard for me to deal with and I tried not to show my emotions about it, but instead I was getting angry inside. This is where Spotlight came in, at first I was not really interested in dance or drama, I joined as a way to forget about everything that was happening at home and to release all my anger, this then stopped me getting into trouble.
At first I wasn’t really that confident to get up in front of even my friends and dance, let alone a room of strangers, but over time Spotlight showed me that there wasn’t anything to be scared of. This year I have auditions for dance which Spotlight has helped me with.
Spotlight has given me the confidence to help other kids who are like me. This time two years ago I was quiet and shy and now, I’m one of the loudest people here. Spotlight made me feel like a part of something bigger, and we're one big family. I have found that all of the staff at Spotlight are so welcoming and friendly, everyone at Spotlight has helped me so much. It has made me so much happier and confident at home and with my friends. Without spotlight I don’t know what I would do, it is like my second home 😀 spotlight has helped so many people and is truly amazing.
Caitlyn and Amy have been benefitting from Spotlight since the early days in 2009. They had to stop their dance classes because we couldn't afford it, and it was at this time I heard about Spotlight. It helped the girls' disappointment as there was something else on offer that we could afford and so they didn't have to go without. I can't tell you in words how your affordable activities helped us.
Quite simply if it weren't for the affordability of Spotlight activities my kids would be playing on our street, being exposed to bad language, boys mooning at them and other boredom buster tactics from the youngsters on our streets, and constant battles with me to come inside.
Last year Caitlyn had a difficult year at school because she has rushed handwriting and is easily distracted by her friends, and was told she should be able to do sums she struggled with. Spotlight was her sanctuary, the place where she could just be and the one place where she didn't believe she was rubbish. Towards the end of the school year she cried often at home about school telling me she was rubbish, rubbish, rubbish at everything.
All the people here are so lovely and we are like a big family. Everyone is so supportive of each other and we have so much fun. Coming here has built up my confidence in performing and doing what I love. You meet loads of amazing people and have such a great time. Thank you to everyone who has helped in making Spotlight what it is today xx
As you can tell, Spotlight means a huge deal to not only me but lots and lots of other children, adults and parents in and around Basingstoke, and I can't wait to see what the future has to offer for us!