The Ragdoll Foundation
Open Grants Scheme

Grants Awarded 2017-18

Organisation Britten Sinfonia
Amount awarded £14,500 over 9 months
Date awarded February 2018
Project location Community settings in Peterborough
Participants 2-5 year olds and their families / carers
Artform Music and literature
Project A music and literature project based on an interactive production of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through The Looking Glass. The project consists of two strands:

  • An interactive concert series for children and families / carers in local community settings;
  • Training for Peterborough Music Hub and their partners to enable ongoing delivery of quality music activity in communities.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “A well-planned project, involving both new and existing partners, and meeting a demonstrable community need. Linking to an existing concert series makes good use of resources. Training for the local Music Hub extends the reach and creates a legacy for the project.”
Organisation Citizens Theatre
Amount awarded £35,000 over 3 years
Date awarded October 2017
Project location Primary and secondary schools in Glasgow
Participants 4-12 year olds in Glasgow school nurture programmes
Artform Theatre and storytelling
Project ‘Hear My Voice’, a creative drama and storytelling project which aims to build confidence and communication skills of children who have had to deal with difficult life experiences, providing a safe place to explore imagination and creativity.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “This is an excellent example of a major, core-funded institution going above and beyond its remit and seeking to make a real difference to vulnerable children in the local community. Citizens has already piloted a model of practice and is now going to develop this further. Evaluation will be thorough and outcomes shared widely within the arts and education sectors.”
Organisation Digital Voice for Communities CIC
Amount awarded £21,189 over 9 months
Date awarded June 2017
Project location Gateshead
Participants 7-15 year olds who are or have been fostered
Artform Digital Media and Music
Project ‘DigitalMe’, an innovative social justice project, which gave Looked After Children a voice about issues that concern them to a range of audiences. Through creative writing, song and music production, photos and film they reflected on their experiences of life and the care system, decided what messages they wanted to convey, and were trained/guided to produce a multimedia piece to reflect their thoughts and give them a strong voice in a new and accessible way.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “This application proposed an intensive project working with three small groups of Looked After Children, who are amongst the most vulnerable in society. Strong support from Gateshead Council indicated that the project could have lasting impact. Young people on the steering group helped to ensure that the voices of participants were genuinely heard during the project.”
Find out more DigitalMe Project Evaluation (pdf)
Organisation Drama Express CIC
Amount awarded £1,500 over 3 months
Date awarded February 2018
Project location Cornwall
Participants 5-15 year olds who have complex disabilities
Artform Theatre / Drama
Project A summer pantomime project, focusing on Cornish legends and including performance at the Minack Theatre. The children and young people will contribute to all aspects of the production including script writing, stage construction and publicising the event. A short film is available about the company.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “This small CIC looks to be doing an extraordinary job of mobilising volunteer and at-cost support to enable children and young people with a range of disabilities to enjoy quality drama activities. The process of devising the production has the young participants at its heart, whilst performing at the Minack Theatre will be something very special to aim for. The budget is minimal and this project should punch well above its weight.”
Find out more
Organisation Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Amount awarded £30,000 over 2 years
Date awarded June 2017
Project location Grand Theatre, community settings and after-school clubs in Blackpool
Participants 7-11 year olds from local primary schools
Artform Theatre / Drama
Project The Junior Artists Project, a two year arts after-school and holiday programme that uses story to define and explore resilience and, through participation in a range of child-led creative experiences, to strengthen that resilience. In the first year participants are working with artists to learn new creative skills and to share their work. In the second year they will take part in a child-led forum theatre project to explore the challenges they face, examine alternative solutions, and creatively respond to their world.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “This project extends The Grand’s informal learning programme to children age 7-11. The application emphasised consulting with children in programme development – for example, through a steering group. There is a good balance of activities and settings. Thorough evaluation plans are in place, including training young people to be young evaluators, both of this programme and of the Grand’s wider work. Follow-up plans are already in early stages of development. As an NPO, The Grand is in a good position to coordinate the partnership necessary to deliver the project.”
Find out more
Organisation Lancashire Association of Boys and Girls Clubs
Amount awarded £15,520 over 18 months
Date awarded June 2017
Project location Primary schools and youth clubs in Lancashire
Participants 5-13 year olds attending youth clubs in Lancashire
Artform Mixed arts
Project Nine diverse projects in which children will work with professional artists to explore participants’ life views, experiences and solutions to the world’s problems. Creative results will include stop motion animations, short films, postcards and posters.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “The Ragdoll Foundation primarily supports cultural sector organisations in their work with children and young people, however in this case we felt that the quality of the application from a youth-based organisation was high and well worth funding. Each mini-project has been planned to meet the needs of its participant group and each involves working with professional artists. Partnership, evaluation and dissemination are all strong. This project has the potential to create a replicable model of good practice.”
Organisation Mandala Theatre Company
Amount awarded £11,698 over 9 months
Date awarded February 2018
Project location Settings in Oxford, Luton, Coventry, Stockton-on-Tees, London, Doncaster and Bristol
Participants 14-18 year olds from diverse backgrounds who do not readily access the arts
Artform Performing arts
Project Mandala’s ‘(Dis)Connected’ Education Project, which will engage diverse groups of young people across strategic cities to explore ‘Place, Identity and Belonging’. The participants, predominately from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) and lower socio-economic backgrounds, will work with professional artists to voice and create their own artistic expression and potentially will become role models in their communities.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “The project is clearly described and well-planned. It addresses a pertinent social issue through quality artistic engagement and a genuine commitment to the voice of the participating young people. Whilst the creative heart of the project is through workshops and a theatre visit, value is added for the young participants by taking part in discussions with local stakeholders and other young people in their communities about issues relevant to them.”
Organisation Orchestras for All
Amount awarded £5,676 over 7 months
Date awarded October 2017
Project location West Midlands and North West of England
Participants 11-18 year olds
Artform Music (orchestral)
Project The pilot of a new creative composition and improvisation activity as part of Orchestras for All’s Modulo Programme, working across nine schools and with 90 young people aged 11-18 in the West Midlands.
The project aimed to involve children and families in active storytelling, thereby improving literacy and confidence.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “A strong application with a clear focus on supporting young people with complex lives to have sustainable access to high quality music-making. A relatively small amount of investment will allow this pilot to take place and produce a practical toolkit to support delivery of improvisation and creative composition beyond the life of the project.”
Organisation Rhubarb Theatre Company
Amount awarded £8,200 over 9 months
Date awarded October 2017
Project location Terry O’Toole Theatre, North Hykeham, Lincolnshire and four schools in the North Kesteven District
Participants 8-10 year olds from four diverse schools in Lincolnshire
Artform Performing arts
Project To work with four primary schools from North Kesteven District, to create an inclusive storytelling and performance project, exploring storytelling through physical theatre, mime, mask and puppetry.
Each school will participate in 4 contact days with NPT: an initial theatre visit, 2 days of workshops, and a showcase day at NPT, along with supporting inset and learning resources for teachers.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “A well-conceived combined arts project that will work with four classes of children over a good period of time (six 2-hour sessions over 6 weeks, plus a full day at start and end). Lincolnshire is an area of high deprivation and the project targets schools in particular need. Teacher CPD enhances the project and will help to secure a legacy. Partnership with ArtsNK and the Terry O’Toole Theatre adds value and will enhance participants’ experience.”
Organisation Sidney Nolan Trust
Amount awarded £15,620 over 10 months
Date awarded October 2017
Project location The Rodd, Powys, and venues in Birmingham
Participants The project is working with two groups of people: the first is families from the Asian community in Saltley, Birmingham, who have immigrated to the UK from Pakistan and Kashmir, and their teenagers and young children; the second is young homeless parents with babies and toddlers adjusting to the demands of parenthood with support from St Basils in Birmingham
Artform Photography, clay processes and other media
Project It’s my World, a workshop programme with children and families from diverse cultural backgrounds living in areas of high urban deprivation in the West Midlands. The workshops will take place at The Rodd, supported by introductory sessions at partner group locations in Birmingham. Trust staff will work with experienced artist/tutors to encourage creative confidence, personal growth and family bonding for young parents and their babies and for families with an immigrant parent or grandparent with different generational or cultural expectations.
The Paper Birds Theatre Company will facilitate 3 sets of creative workshops through weeklong residencies culminating in 3 original live public performances.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “The Sidney Nolan Trust appears to have established an interesting and effective arts engagement approach with children, young people and families in difficult circumstances. This project allows them to test and refine their methodology focusing on two discrete groups of people. Partnership with Birmingham-based arts and community organisations will support longer-term engagement and project dissemination.”
Find out more
Organisation Theatre Royal, Plymouth
Amount awarded £15,333 over 2 years
Date awarded October 2017
Project location Foyer of the Theatre Royal and community settings in Plymouth
Participants Children 2-4 years old and their parents / carers
Artform Storytelling / mixed arts
Project Tiny Tales, a two-year project for children 2-4 years old that aims to create a child-welcoming environment in the front of house area of the theatre where children are visible, happy and central, enjoying a creative and imaginative activity.
The project aims to raise levels of aspiration, instil a sense of achievement, and promote a lasting love of singing and performing in the young participants.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “This is a thoughtful, simple project which should effectively reach people from the local community and bring them into the theatre space in a child-friendly, welcoming programme. Young children and families appear to be genuinely at the heart. The carefully managed bursary scheme means that the story sessions will be accessible to all. Excellent evaluation and dissemination plans are in place.”
Organisation The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick
Amount awarded £10,000 over 12 months
Date awarded June 2017
Project location Hackney Wick, London
Participants 5-14 year olds
Artform Theatre / Drama
Project To expand ‘Yardlings’, the Yard’s devised drama training for children aged 7-11 to include two new age groups (5-7 and 12-14 year olds), and opening to all schools in the area.
The project represented a new departure for the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, as it was the first time young children worked with a professional artist to develop a creative response to an exhibition.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “A compelling application that demonstrates the Yard’s deep-rooted commitment to working with its communities, especially supporting young residents to feel positive about their futures. The edgy, uncompromising nature of the Yard’s artistic output indicates that they will not shrink from approaching difficult subjects. Partnership is already established with the local authority and at least one local school and the project will build more. There are good plans for evaluation and sharing.”
Organisation Wizzleworld Dramatics CIC
Amount awarded £25,000 over 2 years
Date awarded June 2017
Project location Solihull
Participants 4-11 year olds living in Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid refuges
Artform Storytelling / drama
Project To design and deliver story-drama programs for children living in Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid refuges. Stories will be based around themes identified by Women’s Aid, including loss, positive relationships and managing and expressing feelings: key challenges faced by children residing in refuges who struggle with issues such as self-harm, abuse and trauma. Drama, singing and mindfulness will be woven into stories brought alive by simple, creative resources. Children will enjoy expressive play and craft; activities which may have been prohibited previously.
What the Ragdoll Foundation trustees said about this project “An ambitious, well put together, from the heart proposal from a CIC that aims to ‘develop confidence and wellbeing through creative expression, drama and movement, using the magic of story’. They look to have developed a sound arts-based, child-centred effective methodology. This project will collaborate with children to create interactive stories and has the potential to create a model of good practice.”