Maria welcomed Spotlight to Westminster to present founder Michaela Riley with a Parliamentary Award. Maria nominated the charity for the “Inspire the House” Awards run by Kids Count and the Basingstoke Charity won “Best Community Group.”
Maria commented; “I was asked to recognise a community group who by example, track record and commitment have signalled that they can, within their own community, protect and foster the well-being and development of young people. I had no hesitation in nominating Spotlight founded by Michaela Riley. I was delighted to learn that Spotlight had won and to present them with the Kids Count Best Community Group award.”
“Michaela Riley started Spotlight April 2009 with a dance school with just six children. In Sept 2009 Spotlight launched a theatre school in Basingstoke working with 317 pupils each week. Life for Spotlight changed dramatically in September 2010 when they took on the lease of a former Primary School. Spotlight is not about the best children, best actors, best dancers or singers it is about giving every child a chance. Spotlight’s aim is to create an inclusive service where children with additional needs can mingle and work alongside children from mainstream schools. Young people are referred to Spotlight because they are getting into trouble with the police or if they are failing or not attending school.
"Spotlight is about having fun, increasing confidence and self-esteem. Spotlight helps young people to forget the cares of home life in a safe environment. Spotlight provides a safe haven for many, now working with around 600 children a week. Many vulnerable children and families come through the doors and are offered support through tough times, and life skills training. This includes finance management, cooking on a budget, and courses in English and Maths. Many families are referred to Spotlight via social services and agencies responsible for child protection or children in need plans.
"Spotlight has changed the life of many families and children and their contribution is immeasurable. Spotlight was one women’s vision of what could be and now is. “