A chance to meet the funders

Whitley Bay Pantomime Society received help from VODA to secure funding.
Whitley Bay Pantomime Society received help from VODA to secure funding.

Voluntary and community groups in and around North Tyneside are being given the chance to meet some of the region’s top funders at an annual funding fair.

North Tyneside VODA (Voluntary Organisations Development Agency) is holding the event on Wednesday, November 9, between 1pm and 5pm at North Tyneside YMCA in North Shields.

Groups and organisations can make up to four 15-minute appointments with funders, giving them the opportunity to discuss their projects and funding needs and get direct advice from the decision-makers themselves.

Funders that will be attendance include representatives from Big Lottery, Heritage Lottery Fund, Greggs Foundation, Sir James Knott Trust, BBC Children in Need, Banks Community Fund, RW Mann Trust and the Hadrian Trust, covering a wide range of interests and activities.

There is also the chance for participants to book on to an optional workshop, The Dos and Don’ts of Making Funding Applications with funding expert Karen Griffiths.

VODA’s funding adviser Frank Gillender said: “Whether groups are looking for £500 for new equipment or £5,000 to set a new project up, this event is a great way to get face-to-face with the people who can help.

“Grant funding is increasingly tough to come by in these difficult financial times so being able to meet funders, tell them about your project and get direct advice really is invaluable.”

Places on VODA’s Funding Fair must be booked. Visit www.voda.org.uk to book online or ring 0191 6432626 for more information. The closing date for booking is October 31.

One North Tyneside group which has recently been successful in securing funding is Whitley Bay Pantomime Society.

In 2014, the Society celebrated its 50th anniversary and, keen to mark the occasion, came up with the idea of producing a book about its 50-year history.

Society vice president Valerie Hopper said: “I’ve been a member of the society for 40 years and thought it would be a good idea to celebrate our golden anniversary by writing about its history during that period. Once I had the majority written, I worked with Kath Smith at Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future and she advised me to contact VODA to find out about funding to get the book printed.

“Frank Gillender ame on board and guided me in applying for the grant. We were gobsmacked to receive a letter from the Sir James Knott Trust with a cheque for £600 enclosed. I never expected to receive so rapid and generous a response – we are delighted at the result.

“The book is currently in production and I am hoping that the final product will be on the shelves and available for purchase by our members and the general public near Christmas and certainly during the week of our next pantomime which is Jack and the Beanstalk on stage at the Whitley Bay Playhouse from January 10 to 15, 2017.”

Frank said: “Whitley Bay Pantomime Society are a great example of how a good idea can become a reality with a bit of hard work and the right advice. They put a strong funding application in and got a quick success as a result. Any North Tyneside community groups or voluntary organisations looking for funding should book their place on our Fair now to avoid disappointment.”