¬ BACCES HELPS HOUSE A SMILE FOR CHARITY 13.05.2015 Members of BACCES gathered at Step by Step's Aldershot
premises on Crimea Road on 24th April to donate a cheque for
£500. The donation was made from money the society raised during
their last production, "Jack and the Beanstalk".
Jenny Jackson, Step by Step's Corporate and Community Fundraiser
was there to welcome the BACCES members and to explain all about
the homeless charity, its origins, the work it does, and the
challenges it faces. She started by explaining the charity's
mission statement, which is "To empower homeless people and
those facing adversity to achieve their full potential." The
charity focuses very much on positives, referring to the shelter
as an "aspiration station". They are aiming to help 1,500 people
Jenny works with 5 colleagues who need to raise around £500,000
this year alone to maintain the charity's work. The funds raised
will cover existing service delivery across the charity’s areas
of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire.
The charity was formed in 1989 after a local parishioner met
someone who simply had nowhere to call home and who had little
access to information and support. The initial ambition for the
charity was to set up a night shelter for homeless people in the
local community. A house was soon purchased from money raised.
This, however, barely scratched the surface. A further five
houses were subsequently purchased in the Aldershot area to
cater for the needs of the homeless and to provide office space
In 2011, a new purpose-built shelter was opened to serve as a
"foyer" offering training facilities, accommodation, and a
drop-in centre where staff could work closely with social
services, the police, local councils, housing associations, and
schools, all of whom are able to give referrals for those who
are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The charity works
with eleven to twenty-five year olds, offering accommodation to
sixteen to twenty-one year olds. More recently, the charity has
also been offering and promoting their LGBT group.
Step by Step works with young people to get them into work,
education or training. It operates a "dry house", meaning that
those being accommodated are not permitted alcohol, drugs, or
energy drinks. As it stands, Step by Step is only able to
accommodate 1 in 5 of those who need shelter, such is the
The charity currently has foyers in Basingstoke, Havant, and
Gosport, in addition to that of Aldershot. The charity also
works with supported lodgings, where host families accommodate
the young people in their homes. This is a more suitable
environment for some of the young people Step by Step work with.
They can collectively accommodate up to 202 people each night.
Needless to say, there are a wide variety of reasons as to why
someone ends up requiring the facilities Step by Step offers.
The Aldershot foyer is very much about integration while
offering a strong support network. Currently, they have five
women and ten men in their Step 1 accommodation. This phase
offers 15 bedrooms. Each room comprises of a bed, desk, drawers,
and en-suite shower room, and all residents are encouraged to
interact with each other. Regardless of their circumstances,
individuals are encouraged and supported in developing their
life skills, compiling CVs, and filling in job applications. All
are required to abide by curfew rules and to assist with the
cooking of meals. They are also asked for £12 per week to cover
the cost of their subsidised food.
In the foyer's Stage 2 accommodation, which is available for up
to twelve months, fifteen individuals are offered
apartment-style living. Each apartment has three or four
bedrooms. The Aldershot branch currently has nine women and six
men in this phase. Residents must be in training, education, or
employment. They are required to pay their own bills, cook their
meals, clean, and sign a tenancy agreement. This is seen as the
final stage in what will hopefully lead to an individual's full
integration and independent living.
The charity relies heavily on donations and BACCES are delighted
to have donated £500 to enable them to continue their good work
with young people in need.
For more information about the amazing and vital work Step by
Step is doing, visit their web site at
¬ GUIDE DOGS SHOWS BACCES THE WAY 30.04.2015 On 14th April, BACCES members Dee Bull,
Lindy Starling, David Bowditch, Alkit Malde and Nick Young
gathered at Guide Dogs London headquarters at Walkden House,
Melton Street, to make a cheque presentation. The £2,500 the
society donated was part of the money they raised from their
charity pantomime, "Jack and the Beanstalk".
Rob Harris, Guide Dogs'
London Engagement Manager, was there to welcome the five BACCES
members, along with David Kent, who has been blind since the age
of 18 and is Guide Dogs' Community Engagement Officer for
London. Walkden House also serves as the London training centre
for Guide Dogs.
David explains that Guide Dogs currently breeds in the region of
1,000 puppies each year, 800 of which will become guide dogs.
The majority of these will be labrador/retriever crosses, while
others will be German shepherds. Puppies are assessed from the
get-go to check their potential suitability to train as guide
dogs. At just six weeks old, they are tested for purpose. The
puppies spend up to a year with host families, who constantly
assess the puppies in a wide variety of situations. If suitable,
these puppies will then become guide dogs at twenty months old
following training. Most will be retired between the age of five
Generally speaking, those who are partially sighted or blind are
eligible to apply for a guide dog from the age of fourteen. This
will depend largely on their personal needs, their maturity, and
the amount of family support available. Guide Dogs offers a
Young Persons service for such cases. There is no upper age
limit for those who can have or apply to have a guide dog.
When a visually impaired candidate has been granted a guide dog,
the "matching process" can begin. As Nicola, who is Guide Dogs'
Mobility Instructor, explains, "It is vital that the right dog
is assigned to the right owner. The matching process involves
ones personal situation, their walking pace, their lifestyle,
their family environment, the type of property in which they
live, whether there are other animals in the household, and if
the person is employed or has transport needs."
A "matching walk" will then take place to see if a dog is suited
to its potential new owner. The challenges facing owners of a
newly assigned dog could include getting used to their body
signals, their temperament, and how they react in specific
The BACCES members were then offered a "mindfold" (a type of
padded blindfold that blocks out light completely) walk around
the locality accompanied by David and Rob. In pairs, they headed
out onto the street with one guiding and the other being guided
while blindfolded. London's Euston Station became part of the
course for this particular exercise. It was to highlight what a
partially sighted or blind person might feel while out and about
on the busy streets of London. All the BACCES members said they
felt disorientated and vulnerable. They also said what a useful
exercise it was and that trust played a huge part.
Guide Dogs is currently working in conjunction with federations
in other countries to share tips and practices. For more
information on the fantastic work Guide Dogs is doing, visit
their web site at
¬ BACCES ADDS A SMILE FOR CHRISTOPHER 30.0.2015 On 7th April, BACCES members Dee Bull, Jo
Dickenson, David Bowditch, Terry Hunt, and Nick Young made a
cheque presentation to the children's cancer charity
Christopher's Smile at Lakeview Care Home, Lightwater, Surrey.
The £2,500 the society donated was part of the money they raised
from their charity pantomime, "Jack and the Beanstalk".
Christopher's Smile founders Karen and Kevin Capel, both of whom
have links to British Airways, were there to welcome the BACCES
members and to explain the reasons behind creating the charity
and the work it does.
Having lost their own son to a malignant brain tumour shortly
before his sixth birthday back in 2008, Karen and Kevin saw the
need to raise money to finance research into the development of
new and more effective treatments of childhood cancers. When
speaking about research, Karen said," We wanted to see something
change." Though their initial fundraising target was £30,000,
which was to be used specifically to fund a scientific officer,
they in fact raised more than £80,000 in their first year.
To date, Christopher's Smile has raised more than £850,000. Some
of this money is currently funding four full time researchers,
including a doctorate and post doctorate researcher, at The
Institute of Cancer Research who are looking specifically at
molecular pathology and genetic sequencing in an aim to treat
certain childhood cancers more effectively. Interestingly, and
as a direct result of Karen and Kevin's campaigning, genetic
sequencing to assess cancers is to be rolled out across the
European Union for all children diagnosed with cancer.
The charity is also involved in funding sick children, buying
new and more modern equipment, and funding additional research.
Kevin said, "We wanted to set up a charity where we could have
full control [of funds]." As a result, Karen and Kevin know
exactly where all the money they raise is being spent.
They are now working closely with Lakeview Care Home, which
offers residential, nursing and dementia care. The staff and
residents there have been raising money for Christopher's Smile
by organising events. In addition, the home has been offering
the charity function space for meetings and presentations.
¬ BACCES GIVES COLCHESTER MINI WINDFALL! 30.04.2015
BACCES Box Officer Manager, Kevin O’Dwyer, and Assistant
Director, Terry Hunt, visited Colchester on 26th March to make
the first of their cheque presentations to the charities and
organisations being supported from the proceeds of BACCES' 2014
production of "Jack and the Beanstalk".
Beacon House is a charity organisation which relies on grants,
donations and volunteer workers to provided food, shelter,
health, wellbeing facilities and life skills training to the
homeless of the area, or those at high risk of homelessness.
Open every weekday, anyone in need can visit the centre to take
a shower, have a haircut (provided by a local barber who gives
one day of his time every week), wash their clothes or exchange
them for new ones, take some bed rest, have a hot meal, see a
nurse for treatment and advice on all manner of healthcare
issues, learn new skills (e.g. IT training), receive support for
mental well-being or simply have a coffee and a chat.
Centre Manager, Vivian Wiggins, was happy to show Kevin and
Terry around the facility, which was nominated after a family
member lost his way through alcohol addiction over a number of
years, and was able to use the Beacon House facilities.
Kevin and Terry found it a humbling experience and were quite
overwhelmed by the positivity of those who work at Beacon House,
who quite often have to face the difficult and emotional
situations of the men and women who benefit from the facility.
Vivian admitted that "the staff do occasionally have to deal
with some very sad circumstances, but equally, many people do
get back on their feet, and move on with their lives. Some even
return as volunteer helpers."
Vivian plans to use the £2,500 donated by BACCES to start up a
new project which, once started, will hopefully then be awarded
a grant to keep it going.
While at Beacon House, Terry and Kevin also presented a £500
cheque to Steven Wiggins (no relation to Vivian!), who is the
founder of UC Group - a social and support group which is part
of the Colchester Society for the Blind. Run on a volunteer
basis, UC are able to offer practical advice and assistance to
those who are visually impaired, (e.g. provide talking
computers) and also arrange social outings to events
specifically arranged for the blind and visually impaired. UC
was nominated by Kevin and Terry in recognition of the service
their friends, Frank and Eva, have given over the last 13
Would you like to get more involved
in our productions?
Are you or were you British Airways cabin crew? Can you
sing, act, or dance? Do you have experience of the stage, or
have you ever wondered what it might be like to tread the
boards? Then, this might be your opportunity to shine!
Auditions for BACCES' 2016 production of "Sleeping Beauty"
will be held on Thursday, 25th June 2015, at 10:30am (Venue
to be announced). Watch this space for more details.
Alternatively, whether British Airways cabin crew, BA
affiliated, or not, if you are free to help and would like
to get involved in BACCES' 2016 production, "Sleeping
Beauty", then we would love to hear from you:
If you would like to be part of our Front of House team,
then please contact our Front of House manager, Kevin, by
e-mailing him at email@example.com
Any time or help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Dates for the diary:
25th June 2015 - Auditions for "Sleeping Beauty" - 10:30am
(venue TBA) - More information nearer the time
28th September 2015 - All Day Rehearsal #1 - 12:00pm (Venue
21st & 22nd November 2015 - All Day Rehearsals #2 & #3 -
9:30am - 5:30pm (Venue TBA)
3rd January 2016 - All Day Rehearsal #4 - 9:30am - 5:30pm
8th & 9th January 2016 - All Day Rehearsals #5  - 9:30am
- 5:30pm (Venue TBA)
10th January 2016 - "Get In" - Watford Palace Theatre
11th & 12th January 2016 - All Day Rehearsals, inc.
Dress/Tec. Rehearsal (Times TBA)
13th - 17th January 2016 - BACCES stages "Sleeping Beauty"
at the Watford Palace Theatre
¬ WHAT IS BACCES?
BACCES is a
non-profit charitable organisation which was originally
set up in 1970 by two British European Airways (BEA)
stewards who wrote a comedy review and staged it at York
House in March 1971, Twickenham, UK for two nights. It
was so popular that it ran for a further three sell out
nights at Chiswick Town Hall. The national press
of this venture and prompted "Jak" of the Evening
Standard to publish a cartoon lampooning the efforts of
BA cabin crew. Since
that time the company have been producing reviews and,
more recently, and to great acclaim, pantomimes in aid
of national and local charities. The company writes,
directs and produces the whole show with very little
help from outside sources.
In 2008 BACCES won the Flame Award
for Inspirational Excellence in Theatre from the
National Operatic and Dramatic Association for their
2007 production of Cinderella.
In 2012 and 2013, BACCES not only won The S. Leslie Cowham
Trophy for Programme Design (Souvenir Class) in the London
Region, it also won the National Award. Congratulations
Carole Jarratt and Lucinda Bowditch (Programme designers)!
In 2014, the nominations kept on coming:
The S. Leslie Cowham Trophy - Programme Design (Souvenir
The Shelly Lemesh Award - The Unsung Hero
The Louise English Trophy - Contributions Made by a Young
The Sheila Rawlings Lifetime Achievement Award
The 'It's Behind You' award - Best Pantomime
The Kathleen Oyler Trophy - Chorus Work
Of the six nominations, BACCES walked away with three
trophies for: Best Programme Design (Souvenir Class)(Lucinda
Bowditch); the Unsung Hero (Brian Stubbington); and, perhaps
most excitingly of all, Best Pantomime.
WELL DONE, BACCES!
FACEBOOK Enjoyed the show? Join us
on Facebook to see all the latest news from BACCES!