It’s been an exciting couple of years at Mortal Fools – we’ve reached more young people and audiences than ever before, won several awards and embarked on some new, exciting (and sometimes a little terrifying) projects and performances.
Our funders can be the invisible partners in our success story and we want to make them visible, thank them publicly and share just how vital they are to our work.
We are humbled and grateful for whatever funding we receive – pocket change donated after a show or a large grant – every bit counts and makes us do a little jig! We couldn’t achieve much without financial support and in the last few months, it’s fair to say that we’ve been doing quite a lot of little jigs…
SUPPORTNG US AT OUR CORE…
This year we have received core funding from GARFIELD WESTON FOUNDATION. It’s so important to support a charity’s overheads because it is the foundation for their success – without it, it’s impossible for us to build a robust model of sustainable activities and services for our beneficiaries.
Core funding can be difficult to come by and so for this we want to say a huge thank you.
We were delighted to receive business development funding from the GROWTH AND RESILIENCE fund via Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. We have ambitious plans for growth – increasing the size of our core team, improving the way we do things so the quality of our work gets better and better and increasing the numbers of young people we work with in more areas.
This funding will support us to work with expert consultants, increasing the skills and knowledge of our team and help us to build our income streams, supporting our growth and sustainability.
TRUSTING IN THE QUALITY OF OUR WORK…
ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND have awarded us a series of project grants for our work with young people in the last year. We make theatre with young people of comparable quality to a lot of professional theatre produced in the UK.
The Arts Council recognise that great art, applied well, can have transformational effects on children and young people and we appreciate their ongoing support and belief in our work.
SIR JAMES KNOTT TRUST has recently given us a multi-year commitment to supporting our largest young people’s programme, Creatives of the Future. This is a programme of high-quality theatre and drama activities made for, with and by young people in non-academic settings, mainly in Northumberland, but also featuring touring work to venues across the North of England.
Multi-year grants enable us to build more resilience as an organisation, to think more ambitiously, plan ahead and reduce the hamster-wheel effect of securing short-term project funds one after the other after the other.
INVOLVING OUR YOUNG PEOPLE…
When it comes to raising money for our charity, we need to give a lot of credit to the young people that we work with. Without their hard work and dedication to the projects, there would be nothing to raise money for. Their efforts are what inspire us every day, and often what inspires the funders we are reaching out to.
Sometimes, their impact is even more direct and they actually raise the money themselves! THE KEY provide a framework by which the young people involved are directly responsible for assessing their own skills, developing their own project and ideas, and presenting this to a funding panel.
This year, funding from The Key has enabled four of our youth theatre members to work with professional practitioners to develop their facilitation and leadership skills, and in the process deliver drama workshops to 70+ other young people across the North of England.
KEY FUNDING RELATIONSHIPS…
THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION are a great example of where we have successfully developed an ongoing relationship with a funder. The funds they represent have supported us with a combination of small project and activity grants, multi-year programme grants and business development funding.
By always providing thorough reports on the outcomes and impact of the activities they support, we have grown into an organisation that they trust and recommend to their funders, championing our work and acting as advocates and advisors to us as an organisation.
NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL (NCC) have supported us in every aspect of our work, for many years now. We are one of their key partners within Northumberland Arts Development strategic forum, with an annual SLA to lead the development of theatre and drama activities for young people in the county. NCC have also provided additional project funding, which we often use as match funding to help us attract further funds into the region.
It is worth mentioning that the funders we have named specifically here are those who have supported us just within the last 6 months. If we were to thank every funder who has ever supported us, this post would be pages and pages long.
And finally, to everybody who supports our work, we say THANK YOU. When you donate, buy a ticket to a show, like a Facebook post, or tell a friend or colleague about our work, just remember… we are doing a grateful little jig every time!
CLICK HERE for our full list of funders
CLICK HERE TO MAKE A REGULAR OR ONE-OFF DONATION TO MORTAL FOOLS
Mortal Fools Artistic Director (CEO)
If you’re one of the fortunate few currently thinking, “No” then congratulations and good luck to you. But if you’re one of the many who toils day after day, grinding yourself against the millstone, wishing for something different but not knowing what, then please read on and know that you are not alone.
According to this Gallup workplace engagement survey, 63% of employees worldwide “are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time — but not energy or passion — into their work.” A further 24% are not “just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness” and spreading negativity to their colleagues.
87% of employees worldwide. That’s a lot of people.
Did you realise this problem was so big? I certainly didn’t.
In 2010, one in every three US workers was considering leaving their job, but a vastly smaller number actually did so, which means that “A lot of unhappy workers are staying put.” Why? Because we believe that’s just the way the world is. Surely liking your job is just a luxury, right? We need to keep earning so we can pay the bills. And who’s to say that we’d be any happier in a different job?
Let’s start by dealing with a few hard truths. First, we do need to work. It’s an economic reality that we need to earn a living in order to buy the things that keep us alive. Number two, not everyone can find their dream job. There are many reasons for this. One is that not everyone has a dream job, something they feel put on earth to do. And that’s okay. Another is that there are only so many spaces in the world for concert pianists and elite athletes, so if this is your dream, your chances of success are small. A third is that landing your dream job takes a certain amount of good luck and sometimes circumstances are simply not kind. Maybe you have a sick relative to take care of, and caring for them understandably takes precedence over landing your dream job.
But the first two of these hard truths – we have to work and not everyone can find a dream job – leave a great many people settling for too little and hating the consequences. In the UK last year, there were almost half a million reported cases of work-related stress, anxiety or depression. In Australia, 21% of people take time off work for stress-related reasons. Our work is, quite literally, making us sick.
Martin Luther King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” We spend around a third of our adult lives at work. It matters that almost nine in every ten working adults are spending this much time demotivated and unhappy. It matters that we quietly accept something that is making us stressed, anxious and depressed. I do not know what the overall social impact is of this worldwide demotivation and dissatisfaction, but I suspect that people who go home stressed, depressed and unhappy are not contributing what they could to society and to the common good. And this is no criticism of them: when you are dealing with such things, it becomes truly difficult to give anything of yourself beyond the bare minimum. Demotivation and disengagement at work lead to people disengaging socially.
The negative impact our work currently has on us is a two-headed monster: it makes us sick and unhappy, and it damages the social fabric of our communities by limiting what people are able to contribute. This fact matters – and I find it incredible that there aren’t more people talking about this level of disengagement. Improving the way we experience and feel about our work needs to become a priority. So watch this space to read some of our ideas of what we can do about it.