The Ragdoll Foundation Open Grants Scheme celebrates its first birthday

1 Apr 2017

2016-17 has been an exciting year for the Ragdoll Foundation. We launched the Open Grants scheme in the spring of 2016. In our first year we received 150 stage one applications, invited 20 organisations to submit stage two proposals, and awarded £255,392 supporting 11 projects – enabling work valued at £430,100 to take place.

Our smallest award was £7,500 to fund a six-week ceramics project at the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum in Caernarfon, introducing creative practice to its learning programme.

Our largest award was £49,950 for an ambitious three-year programme for early years and families at the MAC Belfast.

Projects funded represented a diversity of location, artform, and beneficiaries:

  • Geography: all four nations of the UK, rural and urban settings
  • Art forms: dance, drama, ceramics, creative play, film, music, puppetry, and storytelling
  • Work that promoted equality of opportunity, with participants reached through children’s and community centres, nurseries, schools, hospitals, and local families

While most funded projects were within the Ragdoll Foundation’s priority areas of children up to 10 years old living outside of London, we also supported work with young people up to the age of 18 and projects within London, where applications met our criteria extremely well.

Open Grants awarded in 2016-17 announced

The Ragdoll Foundation is delighted to announce Open Grants awarded in the first year of the programme.

Dance in Devon was awarded £20,550 over 18 months to develop and deliver All Aboard!, a new inclusive dance project for young children with and without disabilities, and their families.

Discover Story Centre in Stratford East was awarded £30,988 over 24 months to support the Early Years Story Programme, expanding the scope and scale of Discover’s work with children 0-3 years old by creating eight original story productions.

Glasgow Film Theatre was awarded £40,000 over 24 months to create and deliver two large-scale Dramatic Enquiry projects across Scotland for children aged 9-14. This project also included professional development for teachers and practitioners, and downloadable resources.

High Peak Community Arts was awarded £30,000 over 24 months to develop their Children and Families programme, building on a yearlong pilot of For the Love of Books, which aimed to promote a joy of books amongst early years and families and to deepen communication between children and the adults around them.

Leeds Playhouse was awarded £26,028 over 24 months to develop and deliver a new arts-based creative play project with around 30 babies, toddlers, and pre-school children whose mothers attend the Playhouse’s weekly Asmarina Voices singing group for women who are refugees.

Music in Hospitals & Care was awarded £10,000 over 12 months to develop and test a series of user-friendly evaluation tools to assess the impact of their work with young children and inform the development of future practice. The project included hospital concerts for children under 10 years old in Manchester and Newcastle.

New Victoria Theatre in North Staffordshire was awarded £13,174 over six months to support the Tale Trail to accompany New Vic’s 2016 holiday production of The Snow Queen, an immersive storytelling experience for preschool children and families, which included preparatory and follow-up workshops at children’s centres. The project aimed to involve children and families in active storytelling, thereby improving literacy and confidence.

Norwich Puppet Theatre was awarded £21,100 over 12 months to extend access to NPT’s learning and artistic programmes by running a project with children and teachers in five primary schools in disadvantaged or rural areas across Norfolk.

Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum was awarded £7,500 over three months to fund a ceramics project for Key Stage 2 children as a creative response to the Weeping Window poppies installation, which was sited at Caernarfon Castle in October and November 2016. The project represented a new departure for the Museum, as it was the first time it had worked with a professional maker to develop a creative response to an exhibition.

St George’s Bristol was awarded £15,000 over 15 months to devise and perform a new community opera based on the history of St George’s Concert Hall in Bristol, which reopened in 2017. Local children and young people worked with music professionals in a high profile project that aimed to raise levels of aspiration, instil a sense of achievement, and promote a lasting love of singing and performing.

The MAC, Belfast was awarded £49,950 over 36 months to fund the MAC Early Years Lab, a new programme for early years children and their parents/carers. In addition to offering innovative, arts-based activities which put children at the heart of the MAC, the programme supported artists and early years’ workers to test new practices, refine existing techniques and develop a deeper understanding of how best to work creatively with young children.

The Paper Birds Theatre Company was awarded £21,102 over 12 months to develop In the Red, a performing arts project for up to 60 young people, ages 11-18 in South West England, in collaboration with three regional theatres. The Paper Birds Theatre Company facilitated three sets of creative workshops through weeklong residencies culminating in original live public performances.

YDance in Glasgow, was awarded £11,000 over 24 months to support Me and You, a community-based dance project to introduce babies and toddlers and their young parents to dance and creative play.

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