Fun Palaces secures National Lottery Funding

Published Friday, 12th April 2019
Rotherham Fun Palace
Fun Palace illustration

Rotherham residents will be able to enjoy more local “Fun Palace” activities in future, with an increase in the number of libraries holding events and an expansion of the organisation in our region.

Fun Palaces is an ongoing national campaign for culture at the heart of every community which culminates in an annual weekend of action – arts, science, craft and tech events run by and for local communities.
The Fun Palaces initiative has announced that it has been awarded £1.5m funding from The National Lottery Community Fund which will support the work of the Fun Palaces campaign over the next five years. Central to this is a part time team of twelve, six of whom will be Fun Palaces Ambassadors based in host organisations across the UK, including Rotherham.
Their current Ambassador Programme funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Wellcome in Cornwall, Bristol, Stoke, Sheffield and Scotland has supported six ambassadors for three years. In this second phase, starting in autumn 2019, they will appoint ambassadors to new partner organisations: National Trust Wales, Big Telly Theatre Company in Northern Ireland and Eden Court, Inverness. From autumn 2021 it will include Rotherham Council, Sage Gateshead and Libraries Unlimited in Devon. 
The funding will also continue to support Ambassadors at Cornwall Museums Partnership and FEAST, Sheffield Theatres and Science Ceilidh in Scotland. This rolling programme is designed to create sustainable roles to support local people to create and lead the cultural and community activities they want to make, while also connecting communities across the UK through our quarterly Ambassador action research gatherings.
Underlining their practice of constantly devolving the organisation, they intend to keep our core team small and part-time within this growth. They will grow the Ambassadors Programme while continuing to offer the best possible support to Fun Palaces’ Makers across the UK and beyond.
Fun Palaces Ambassadors are all local people, already-connected in and working with their own communities. This five-year funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will support them to do even more on a local, grassroots basis.
It will further enable them to share and develop their learning between the cohort of Ambassadors, the individuals and communities with which they work, and more widely with the many other organisations like Fun Palaces, focused on community and cultural equality and inclusivity, who understand that local people and their communities are the heart of our work.
Fun Palaces is delighted that this five-year funding will enable them to continue our essential work campaigning for culture for everyone, by everyone and with everyone, working towards a cultural and community life that is truly inclusive and welcoming to all.
Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Communities, Cllr Sarah Allen, said: “Rotherham’s involvement in this exemplary national project is a testament to the growing reputation of our library services. It is great to have been selected as the only local authority partner by the team at Fun Palaces, who have been impressed by our commitment to working with communities in imaginative ways.  
"With a library within two miles of 98 per cent of our residents, our libraries are perfectly placed to support local people to create and lead the activities that matter to them within their own neighbourhoods.”
Joe Ferns, UK Funding Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “As the UK’s largest funder of community activity, we believe that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Fun Palaces draws on local people’s experience, energy and enthusiasm to create lively and inclusive activities and events that leave communities stronger, better connected, and happier. 
"Thanks to funding from National Lottery players, Fun Palaces is able to support more people across the UK in getting together to celebrate their community’s unique contribution and identity.”