Fundraising

at Wiltshire Music Centre

Cat Palmer explains how fundraising keeps WMC alive and enables us to create music-making opportunities for children and young people

Behind the scenes of Wiltshire Music Centre, tucked away in a little office behind the Box Office, there is a busy and small team who work to raise the £250,000 the Centre needs each year to keep the doors open, and who liase with lots of different artists, teachers, music leaders and partners to deliver 30 education and music-making projects for over 5,000 young people. Almost all of these projects are funded by donations.

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Like any other arts venue you might go to, Wiltshire Music Centre charges for concert tickets, but we work really hard to make sure they're affordable - there are lots of discounts if you're under 18 or a student and even some free events if you're under 25! As a registered charity we're proud to earn 60% of our income each year, but ticket sales will only ever cover a proportion of our costs. This means we must fundraise around 25% of our income, with public sector grants support the rest.

I've been working in the fundraising part of our team for the past two years, and it's a fantastic area of the business to be part of. You're always working ahead as it can take several months to find funding, so you know about lots of upcoming education projects and concerts in advance - great for someone who's a bit nosey like me!

We start with looking at what we want to achieve. It might be taking our Artist in Residence into local primary schools or working with expert Music Leaders in Special Schools. It might be staging a community-inspired concert, or bringing a world famous artist to the Centre. We create budgets and work out how we're going to achieve the projects, and then we start fundraising!

Jason Rebello workshop - Copy

It is really exciting when you see projects you've worked on for months coming to fruition, like our recent Stories in Sound workshops in local primary schools. This project consisted of music workshops with the Berkeley Ensemble in 8 local primary schools, as well as providing a teaching resource pack for teachers, supporting them beyond the workshop period. This project was made possible through a wonderful gift from John Lewis and our local music Hub, Wiltshire Music Connect. It's just as rewarding fundraising for ongoing projects like Zone Club - one of our flagship projects which brings learning disabled young people together to express themselves meaningfully through music, dance and film. We need to raise £20,000 a year to run the Club through donations, grants and community fundraising, and the work can have a life-changing impact, particularly when there are very few other activites like it in the area.

Zone Club participant performing

Fundraising also has great variety in terms of where the funds come from, as well as what they're needed for. So in a small charity like Wiltshire Music Centre, a typical day might include writing an application to a charitable trust for funding towards a music education project, meeting a local business to discuss opportunities for sponsorship at the Centre and planning a pre-concert drinks reception for some of our wonderful audience supporters! Fundraising requires quite a bit of creativity and we have a lot of fun coming up with ideas and implementing them, often working collaboratively with other teams at WMC. Most recently we've been doing lots of planning for the Centre's 20th Anniversary which we'll be celebrating throughout 2018, so keep an eye out for that.

Finally, if you'd like to find out how you can support WMC - be it a donation, a partnership with your business or by joining our Bath Half Marathon team in 2018 - please get in touch with Camilla Johns on 01225 860110 / camilla.johns@wiltshiremusic.org.uk.

Cat Palmer

Development Assistant (September 2015 - August 2017)

Cat dp

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