A theatre school franchise network has been rewarded for going above and beyond in their local communities during the exceptionally difficult days of the pandemic. Razzamataz Theatre Schools entered their Cumbrian schools for the Community Award in the FSB Awards and were delighted to be announced as winner.
The FSB is a non-profit organisation and the UK’s leading business campaigner. They have been helping small businesses and the self-employed achieve their ambitions for more than 45 years.
Razzamataz entered schools based in Carlisle, West Cumbria, and South Lakes for their dedicated work in the community. The judges were looking for evidence of businesses who get involved in initiatives that support their community and make a positive impact.
The judges said: “The Razzamataz entry left the judges in no doubt that this is a business which goes above and beyond in its quest to make a real difference to the lives of all those people which it meets, and further than that to offer support to community activities and causes which will have a positive impact on young people and their families. We wish them every success in the UK Final and in their future endeavours.”
When schools closed during the first lockdown, the first response was for the wellbeing of the students, teachers, staff, and franchisees. Razzamataz knew that it was crucial to still provide a much-needed service for customers and maintain the businesses for franchisees. Razzamataz provided numerous Online Workshops/Masterclasses for students in addition to their weekly sessions. This was on top of many other activities such as bedtime stories, kitchen discos, Senior’s nights in and regularly checking in with students and families for a wellbeing chat.
The impact of the work in the community has created a positive effect for the lives of families within the area, not just students who attend the schools. This has included several initiatives including:
- Sponsoring a Football Sports Kit for Yanwath Primary School.
- Holding a Baby Bundles Collection collecting hundreds of baby items to donate to Baby Bundles who distribute these to mothers and babies in need, within the local community.
- Sponsoring The Reading Bus at Beaconside Primary School.
- Supporting CFM Radio Cash for Kids appeal by donating toys to their mission Christmas campaign.
- Delivered exciting Tots and Tiny Tots Sessions free of charge to many local playgroups as they reopened their doors after the pandemic.
- Hosting a ‘Strictly Come Razzing’ event which brought together the Razzamataz families to raise over £8000 for local charities.
- Raising money for CFM Cash for Kids, The Great North Air Ambulance and Razzamataz Future Fund.
“The pandemic was difficult for so many, and it hit our industry particularly badly,” says Denise Huton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz. “I’m so proud of the franchisees across the network who went over and above for our customers and communities and used the performing arts to bring people together and achieve amazing results. Razzamataz allows for people’s passion and purpose to collide. Franchisees not only mentor their students, but also their teams of teachers which in turn have a positive impact on their communities. The discipline and self-belief we instil in children build their confidence and allow them to go on and achieve their dreams, whatever they may be.”
Competition for the entry was incredibly tough but the Cumbrian Razzamataz franchisees impressed the judges with their commitment on several levels. They will now be entered into the prestigious UK final on Thursday 19th May in Glasgow, with a chance to be crowned the UK Small Business of the Year.
The FSB Award win topped off an exciting week for the network. Earlier on, some of the Razzamataz Head Office team and franchisees celebrated at the Elite Franchise Top 100 (EF100) event after being named as one of the UK’s top franchise opportunities from hundreds of entries across every sector.
Established in 2017 in association with HSBC, it recognises the sector’s brightest businesses and ranks them according to a broad range of criteria; from the financial performance and heritage, to their contribution to the community and the way they embrace innovation.
“Razzamataz has had a fantastic start to 2022 with lots of exciting initiatives and opportunities and more to come,” adds Denise. “We have already trained several new franchisees who will be opening new schools this year and we are actively looking for more people to join us. Experience is not necessary as full training and support will be provided. However, we are looking for those with a passion for the performing arts who want to make a positive impact in their community.”