Shaftesbury Arts Centre is trying a new approach to fundraising this weekend. They want you to go to the bank, withdraw some cash and hand it over to one of their volunteers.
“It is just ‘give us your money’,” said Sue Cadmore, a Director of the Shaftesbury Arts Centre. Sue came up with the idea for their ‘Just Giving’ weekend. “We have this fantastic facility in Shaftesbury which offers a huge amount of things for all sorts of people. In order to keep it going and to enable us to develop it, we need money. Instead of people having to make cakes, man stalls, wash-up and clear-up, prepare and organise we just want people to come along and enjoy a free coffee and cake, buy a raffle ticket and give us their money.”
Although events like the recent Marmafest! marmalade-making competition were great fun and created publicity for the Arts Centre, those activities require a significant amount of planning, volunteer time and organisation. “They have the advantage of being fantastic social occasions,” Sue says “But those events are a lot of work. Many people spend a lot of hours not only at the event but beforehand. I thought that this time I would organise an event and people would, hopefully, enjoy just being here and mixing with others, having a piece of cake and giving money.”
The fundraising won’t be confined to the Arts Centre. “We are also going to have a street collection on both Saturday and Sunday. Penguins will be going around,” said Sue. Those penguins first appeared during the pantomime production of ’The Nutcracker’. “They were hugely popular so we thought that people might like to see them again,” she added.
The Arts Centre is a charity and running costs do mount up. “It costs £1,500 each week to keep going. It’s a huge amount of money. Some of that is paid for by the revenue from tickets for shows and from membership, which is really important. Members get reduced ticket prices and are able to join the various groups,” said Sue.“Can you help us raise £1,000 on the weekend? It would be wonderful if we could do it but any money we raise will be really gratefully received.”
Sue wants all residents to consider giving money, especially regular Arts Centre users. “We are hoping that people will be generous and give us donations, particularly those who are members and know exactly what happens here, as well as people who support us by coming to events. Hopefully we will encourage new people to come along and see what we are doing, too. We will have a display of all of the activities that happen here and there will be people here to answer questions.”
So avoid the cashpoint queues. Stock up on tenners before the weekend and go and give generously on Saturday and Sunday. The event, at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre on Bell Street, runs between 10am and 5pm on both days.