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Optimism is a weapon.

Help fund ten extra places on our project next year.

An interview with Call the Midwife star and community fundraiser Ella Bruccoleri

We caught up with Call the Midwife actor Ella Bruccoleri, who's taking part in RideLondon this May to cycle 100 miles and raise money for Arts Emergency.

How are you feeling about RideLondon happening in a couple of months?

I’m absolutely terrified in all honesty! I’m not a long distance cyclist but I’m getting stuck into the training, which is a mission in itself. My partner Yoan and I will be riding together so at least we’re able to motivate each other to get on the bike even when it’s wet and windy!

What was it that made you want to take part?

I just love everything that Arts Emergency represents and have done for a while but have often been at a bit of a loss as to how I can best contribute. When the opportunity to ride 100 miles for them came up, I said yes before I could overthink it and change my mind!

Do you feel like your experience on a famously bicycle-heavy show gives you an edge?

Haha, I wish! We don’t actually do that much cycling in Call the Midwife (if I had my way, we would be on our bikes all the time!) but they always seem to take pictures of us when we do. The bicycles on the show are very similar to my own bike that I use to cycle round London – a big heavy Dutch bike with a wicker basket. I realised quite quickly that this would make the 100 miles pretty tricky so I’m borrowing a road bike for the race! After the 29th May, I imagine I’ll go back to good old faithful.

I just love everything that Arts Emergency represents and have done for a while but have often been at a bit of a loss as to how I can best contribute. When the opportunity to ride 100 miles for them came up, I said yes before I could overthink it and change my mind!

How did you first hear about Arts Emergency, and what made you want to support our work?

I can’t remember how I first heard, but [Arts Emergency co-founder] Josie Long and I had the same agent at the time so perhaps it was through Debi. I remember looking for a charity that I could donate to every Christmas instead of buying expensive gifts. They’re the charity that resonates with me the most - I feel immensely lucky to be working as an actor and have felt first-hand how industries like mine are hard to crack unless you know people. Doors shouldn't be closed to our young people based purely on this!

Do you have any advice for young people on getting into acting today?

I relied on charities to help me attend drama school – I wouldn’t have been able to go if it wasn’t for the help I received. I still wonder whether those charities are really aware how much they have changed my life and others like me. The industry often has the feel of only being accessible to those who come from acting families or who have prior connections. It is unfairly slanted in their favour, that’s definitely true. But please don’t let this stop you. The arts become enriched when people of all different backgrounds are able to contribute. If you don’t know where to start, just approach agents or training programs – you have nothing to lose and places like Arts Emergency can help with advice on things like audition/travel fees. Reach out to people like me, who have walked a similar path and are navigating the industry – we all need to help each other!

Do you have any words of encouragement for other people who may be considering fundraising for us?

Don’t be afraid to start small – with an organisation like Arts Emergency, every pound is so impactful. When you look at how far the money goes towards making a real difference to a young person’s life and future - £500 goes halfway to enabling a young person to undergo a year of mentoring and to be part of the network until the age of 26 with all of the support that that entails. For that young person, that’s HUGE.