Hastings charity Gizmo to feature on National Geographic film

Members of Gizmo at the National Crimebeat Awards receiving an award in 2013
Members of Gizmo at the National Crimebeat Awards receiving an award in 2013

A charity which provides a safety net for youngsters in town is to feature on television.

Gizmo, which offers training in dance, animation, acting and singing, was recently filmed for the National Geographic channel as part of a documentary exploring youth projects around the world.

The charity has helped countless youngsters across Hastings and St Leonards since being set up by Pat Fisher in 2003.

Producers from the channel also spruced up Pat’s Diner at Gizmo Gaffe, in Western Road, St Leonards, where the charity’s workshops and sessions are run.

Pat said: “National Geographic filmed in a number of countries, including Cambodia, Bulgaria and England. Two researchers contacted Hastings Voluntary Action (HVA) wanting to find out about youth projects in the area. HVA sent me an email and I said I would be interested in taking part. I thought it would be a great experience for the kids.

“A camera crew came and chatted with the children and said they’d like to feature Gizmo.

“Two weeks later they returned, treating me to two free tickets to watch Billy Elliot in London and £150. They also completely refurbished the downstairs part of the cafe.

“It was quite exciting and I felt like a superstar for a while. I loved all the attention and the children love their new refurbished space.

“Since the refurbishment the children’s performances have been outstanding and improved greatly. It’s a much nicer space to work in.”

The documentary has been aired on the National Geographic channel in the USA and Australia and is due to be shown in Cambodia and Bulgaria next.

Pat added it will be aired in the UK in due course.

Gizmo runs a number of workshops a week and 30 to 40 community performances a year, as well as a youth club on Friday where children are given a meal.

The charity also opens on Christmas Day, providing a hot dinner for up to 30 children.

Last summer, Gizmo had just weeks to raise £3,000 in order to keep running. It received a flood of support following the appeal.

A new page has been created on crowdfunding website GoFundMe.

Visit www.gofundme.com/helpgizmocharity.

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