Why We Need Your Help

Fun Palaces are local events, using arts, science, crafts, tech, digital and sports, to bring communities together – and a campaign for culture for, by and with all.

We believe that not only should everyone have access to culture but that everyone should have access to CREATE culture – to TAKE PART in science and arts.  We think that not only will we find more creative artists and scientists this way, but that our communities will be strengthened by keeping culture right where it belongs, with the people.

We started in 2013, with Sarah-Jane and Stella working from their kitchen tables, with a dream of people and places joining in, putting participation first. We grew very quickly, and have since had support from ACE, the Foyle Foundation and Wellcome.

In 2014 there were 138 Fun Palaces and 40,000 people taking part.

In 2015 there were 142 Fun Palaces and 50,000 people taking part.

In 2016 there were 292 Fun Palaces and 124,000 people taking part.

This means, that as well as continuing to push for full participation and full inclusivity in culture (in 2016 62% of Maker teams included someone/s from an ethnic minority background and 27% included someone/s with a disability) we more than doubled our output and our impact in 2016 with no extra money, no extra staff and no extra time.

NB – we’re currently working on the 2017 data, but our numbers were up 33%, we were still 90% outside London, and our figures for diversity and inclusion among participants are even stronger!

From late 2016 on we are supported in our Ambassadors Programme by Wellcome and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation – this funding goes to the Ambassadors themselves, supporting their work in five UK areas and enabling the Ambassadors to work together. It does not fund core Fun Palaces work. Wellcome also support some of our workshops around the country.

If you visit a Fun Palace locally you probably won’t see the national and international effort, and after all, the local/community impact is what we’re after, so here’s what we do in addition to running our workshops, supporting our Ambassadors Programme, and making the weekend happen (Stella, Sarah-Jane, Hannah, Kirsty and Conni all work two days a week, Dan is freelance) :

Stella – writes blogs, articles, makes speeches, gives interviews, sits on panels, has meetings with anyone from senior Civil Servants to local activists about how Fun Palaces can be of use to communities.

Sarah-Jane – does the big budgets, the strategy and all the hard thinking about where we need to be in the next few years and beyond and how we’re going to get there.

Hannah – looks after the Makers (some Fun Palaces are made by people who’ve done loads of events before, many have had no experience at all and Hannah is their key support), the website, gathers in all the data from Makers and Fun Palaces.

Kirsty – takes all that data and turns it into statistics and evaluation, so we know what we’re doing well, what we can do better, and what to concentrate on next.

Conni – is our office and Ambassadors Programme adminstrator, as we’re only two days a week, this actually means a bit of everything.

Dan – does all the comms (dozens of pieces in local and national press this year), loads of the social media (trending on twitter, all those gorgeous gifs), promo films, our 2016 film, and hugely useful support about how and where to share who we are and what we do.

We can’t afford to keep going the way we are.

Because we’re growing so fast and so many more people need our support to make their own local Fun Palaces, we need at least another £50,000 a year just to keep up with the huge enthusiasm and appetite for the community-led cultural participation that is the Fun Palaces campaign. Each of us already volunteers quite a bit more time than we can pay ourselves, this isn’t sustainable (and we know it’s not sensible) but we’re not going to let it go! So …

We need your help.

Your support will enable us to keep holding Fun Palaces together and to continue to do more. We are committed to ensuring that anyone anywhere can create a local Fun Palace.

We are hugely grateful for any donation, whether it helps us pay for a train ticket to support the 90% (!) of Fun Palaces outside London, print the posters we send free to Fun Palaces that need them, or enable us to offer more of our local workshops, it all helps.

Thank you,

Stella, Sarah-Jane, Hannah, Kirsty, Conni and Dan x

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