Sunderland students helped to get into the Christmas spirit

Students in Sunderland got an extra boost of Christmas cheer thanks to our partnership with leading energy, regeneration and services specialist ENGIE.

Pupils at a number of primary schools across the city got the opportunity to enjoy a COVID-safe pantomime just in time for the end of term.

That’s because ourselves and ENGIE commissioned theatre company Mendes Productions to put on a short panto featuring Cinderella, Buttons and one of her Ugly Step-sisters to add some extra Christmas sparkle in what has been an often tricky year for pupils and teachers in schools across the country.

One of the schools to get some extra cheer was Dame Dorothy Primary School, located next to one of the towers which has been part of the Core364 programme launched by ourselves and ENGIE to install Ground Source Heat Pumps in 364 flats across Sunderland.

Students across all the year groups got to enjoy the performance, and there were plenty of laughs as the tale of Cinderella put them in the Christmas spirit just in time for the holidays.

Two students who enjoyed the show were Year 5 students Charlotte and Jenson. Charlotte said: “I was meant to be going with my family to see a pantomime before it got cancelled, so it was nice to be able to see one in school instead. It was really good fun and it’s made me feel more Christmassy!”

Jenson added: “I really enjoyed it! It was really funny and it was a great way to get ready for Christmas.”

Diane Carney, Director of Property at Gentoo Group, said: “Christmas is a special time of year for many and while celebrations are different this year, we’re delighted to have been able to spread some much needed festive cheer for children in Schools across the city.

“These pantomime performances have been the perfect way to end the term and I’m pleased that through our innovative investment schemes we are able to support our local communities in this way.”

Amy Porter, CSR Manager at ENGIE, said: “This year, we wanted to spread some Christmas cheer in any way we could and arranging for a pantomime to visit schools across Sunderland was a nice way of helping students get more into the holiday spirit!

“We know how special it is to go to a theatre and watch a panto, so hopefully seeing it in school can be a good alternative until we can all go and see one again.”