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Family Entertainment: Yorkshire cultural groups take fundraising future in hand

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Related: The Murder at Heureka exhibition turns visitors into crime scene investigators / Eureka! appoints director for London project / Eureka! unveils blueprint for the next generation of visitors

Three of Yorkshire’s leading cultural organisations are taking their future into their own hands by fundraising through the innovative Big Give Campaign.

Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, Museums Sheffield and Opera North are three of the cultural charities in Yorkshire selected to participate in the Big Give this December. In the spirit of the Big Society the organisations will look to private individuals and businesses for financial support to increase their offering and engagement with their local communities.

Launching at 10am on Monday 6 December for five days, supporters of the three organisations will see their generous donations doubled in value by matched funding provided by the Big Give Challenge Fund. Eureka!, Museums Sheffield and Opera North are collaborating for the first time to raise the profile of The Big Give and increase awareness in the region about the value of Yorkshire’s dynamic cultural heritage. 

Raising money through the Big Give will be a challenge for the Yorkshire Charities who are disadvantaged by not being London based. Recent research has highlighted a disparity in charitable giving between London and the regions. The charities hope that the opportunity to have their donations doubled will help to redress the balance and empower local residents to contribute in local worthy projects. 

Richard Brown from Arts & Business said: ‘The global economy is going through difficult times and everyone has less of a disposable income including grant giving organisations who traditionally fund new developments. It would be great if everyone who cried at an Opera at Opera North, paused for thought at a picture in the Ruskin Gallery in Sheffield or posed for their picture of the Big Mouth at Eureka!, could spare just five pounds and see it doubled, it would make a big difference. Arts & Business have been delighted by the way the cultural sector has responded to the Big Arts Give’.   

Eureka! hopes to raise £20, 000 in donations and matched Big Give funding by the close of the challenge period. All money raised through The Big Give will go towards the £2.9 million capital campaign to redevelop one of the museum’s most beloved galleries, Me and My Body which will open in 2012 as Me and My World. Eureka!  intends to reinvent the hugely popular gallery, harnessing the very latest knowledge and techniques in playful learning to captivate, stimulate and challenge children and families as they learn about, and celebrate, health and well-being through play. Eureka! has already secured over £1.7m towards the project and is looking to the public to help towards the redevelopment using the Big Give.

Museums Sheffield is fundraising for ‘Seeing Beauty’ the redisplay of Sheffield’s Ruskin Collection. The unique display of art and artefacts amassed by the world famous Victorian artist and scholar John Ruskin, closed its doors recently for a major facelift.  The redevelopment of the Ruskin Gallery will see a total redesign of the gallery space, new display cases and lighting, improved access to the collections and the addition of comfy seating, as well a chance to explore Ruskin’s Desk and brand new audio visual interactives. The project will also see a complete overhaul of the Millennium Gallery’s Learning Centre, providing an updated resource for the thousands of local school children who visit the gallery each year.Following the gallery’s closure on 7 November, Museums Sheffield will carry out the final part of their fundraising campaign throughout December. The fully-refurbished Ruskin Gallery will reopen on 18 March 2011.

Opera North, England’s award winning National Opera Company outside London, is raising funds to engage with the next generation of music and story-lovers. Funds raised will support a newly commissioned opera for children, Cautionary Tales, a series of five dark and twisted moral tales by the writer Hilaire Belloc, with music by composer Errolyn Wallen. Cautionary Tales will delight children and aims to capture their imaginations through the power of an engaging story told through music. (6+ years)

Cautionary Tales will be performed in the Howard Assembly Room, Leeds, in February and March 2011, with an objective to take it on tour later in the year, funding dependent. It will be directed by Pia Furtado who has worked with Opera North on mainstage and education work and is experienced in engaging with young audiences. The cast includes soprano Katherine Broderick, mezzo soprano Emma Carrington, tenor Mark le Brocq and baritone Geoffrey Dalton.

Opera North are delighted to have secured a generous contribution of £6, 000 from the Friends of Opera North and hope to raise funds up to £24, 000.

The Big Give is in its third year of funding charities, however 2010 is the first year where the Arts have been specifically targeted. The Big Arts Give aims to help cultural organisations build and develop the funds they receive from individual donors. Arts & Business devised the scheme in partnership with the Reed Foundation and the Big Give. Together they aim to see at least £3 million donated to the arts by Christmas 2010.  
 
Eureka! The National Children’s Museum

Eureka! is an educational charity no. 292758

Eureka! is designed especially for children age 0-11, with over 400 hands on exhibits inspiring them to learn about themselves and the world around them through imagination, play and discovery. For visitor information call 01422 330069, visit www.eureka.org.uk, read the Eureka! blog, All in a day’s play, become a fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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