The Helen Foundation was launched in January 2006 as a living memorial to Helen Elizabeth Kirk, aged 24, who tragically died after a road accident on 26 December 2005.
Helen was an actor and performed under the stage names of Helen Owen-Taylor and Helen Hezel. Throughout her life, she loved acting and was passionately committed to the power of the arts to make a real difference to young people’s lives. Her theatre-in-education (TIE) work in the UK and abroad showed her first hand how important it is to stimulate children’s imaginations and sensibilities and how arts activities of all kinds are uniquely able to do that.
Following her untimely death, her family and her boyfriend, Ben, decided to set up The Helen Foundation as a new charitable trust in order to support the aspirations of young people who live in Teignbridge (the part of Devon where Helen grew up and that she loved so much), especially those lacking financial support.
Helen benefited greatly from the dedication and encouragement of those teachers and coaches in the schools, colleges and drama groups she attended – Shaldon School, Teignmouth Community College, Exeter College, Shaldon Theatre Company, Tykes, The Teignmouth Players, the Dawlish-based Acting Up and the Devon Youth Theatre amongst others.
By providing prizes in schools, subsidised arts-based workshops and bursaries the Foundation encourages and supports young people to develop their talents and pursue their ambitions as Helen was able to.