Fundraising & Development: living projects

Working in arts fundraising for five years I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in inspiring and ambitious projects that have made me laugh and cry with probably every emotion in between, from singing workshops for stroke survivors, to Jeremy Deller’s Procession as part of Manchester International Festival.

I think there’s always a moment of terror when there’s a wonderful new project that we need to fundraise for – what if we don’t get the money!?

I went to an art exhibition a couple of years ago that was inspired by hundreds of ideas that never quite made it, each represented by a certificate and a few lines of text. So at the start of fundraising for a project, sometimes it’s difficult not to imagine a sad looking certificate with the name of the project that never came to be!

Thankfully in the two years since I’ve been at THSH I’ve seen lots of projects come to life, including Generation Ladywood, which immerses children from Ladywood schools in a world of music. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like the sound of over 400 children screaming with delight at the sight of Barney Harwood, who came to host their showcase at Symphony Hall in June this year.

With generous support from the BBC Performing Arts Fund, The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, and The Leverhulme Trust, the Jazzlines and Learn & Join In teams are now busy delivering a talent development programme for young jazz musicians from age nine to early career level. This includes a Summer School, Ensemble, Women in Jazz programme, master-classes for the Jazzlines Trio, and our first Jazzlines Fellowships – who knows where this support will lead them all?

I recently sent off applications to local Trusts & Foundations for support towards THSH’s first relaxed performance for children with autism, learning disabilities and sensory and communication disorders. What The Ladybird Heard is based on the award-winning picture book by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, and I personally can’t wait to see it after watching Room on The Broom this summer and giggling all the way through.

I’m now playing the waiting game as we wait to find out whether the Trusts we’ve applied to will support the project. So far The Douglas Turner Trust and the Edward & Dorothy Cadbury Trust have made very gratefully received donations.

The moment an envelope arrives in the post, it’s like receiving exam results all over again – have I passed or failed, only now it’s not me who wins or loses, but a group of children and young people or sometimes a big part of the community.

Thanks to all of THSH’s incredibly kind and generous supporters, we have far more living projects than imaginary certificates marking those that never were and I hope there’ll be many more to come!

– Sarah Shelley, Development Manager (Trusts & Foundations)

Image: mithering