One of the several OED definitions of the word 'charity' is 'kindness and tolerance in judging others', and at Settle Stories we make a commitment to the wider community in all of its wonderful, colourful and ad hoc unpredictability. Our doors remain open to everyone, and we trust that we make provision for all in the range of creative experiences we offer.
We bring the very best of the arts here to our rural community and encourage active participation in many of the events. Our bi-annual festival is, possibly above all, huge fun - audiences and participants are undoubtedly susceptible to the process of learning when they are enjoying themselves. At the heart of the festival and indeed of Settle Stories is how we can use stories to transform lives.
Whilst we programme many events for adults, children play a huge part in our plans for the present and the future. Our creative arts outreach work in schools continues year on year and we touch the lives of over 6,000 young people in schools every year. Older young people have been directly involved in our work through projects such as our Tom Twisleton 100 project. This has seen many young people benefit in terms of education - opening up a treasure house of cultural historical knowledge - and the hands-on elements of devising, producing and presenting a viable and sustainable local project for posterity. For the Settle Stories Festival we work closely with local schools, the Youth Service and North Yorkshire County Counils Children's services to reach young people most in need and offer free tickets to paid for events to make sure the festival is inclusive to all families.
At Settle Stories we have become adept at making a little go a long way...
...but sadly, back in the prosaic world of economics and balance sheets, there is a cost implication to our valuable work. We rely heavily on Lottery and Arts Council grants - many of our community projects could not have flourished without recourse to national funding - but we could not thrive as a creative outlet without local support too.
We are a registered charity, and we are indebted to our annual sponsors, our benefactors and, of course, our small army of volunteers who help oil the wheels of Settle Stories' success. Our board of trustees are committed to developing our income streams and realise the huge importance of donations from individuals. One of our trustees, Jane Rice Bowen is leading our Christmas Raffle to help us put on free events for families at the 2018 Festival.
'Settle Stories has been on an incredible journey over the last 8 years. From being a bright idea which began to emerge over Sita's kitchen table, to becoming one of the largest and most successful story organisations in the North of England. It is phenomenal to think how far we have come in such a short space of time. Growth and development like this doesn't happen by accident though. It is the result of extensive planning and preparation and as a part of this the team needs to do significant fundraising. Charles and Sita have worked tirelessly to raise funding to deliver projects that are often low cost or free for users, and events are always priced so as to be accessible to the wider community. As we plan more activities we have to raise more money to pay for them. Fundraising has always been challenging but in the current economic and political climate we have to be increasingly creative, entrepreneurial and sometimes downright cheeky! This year, for the first time we have launched a raffle which aims to raise £1,000 to ensure that local children and young people will be able to access our 2018 Festival for free. All of our trustees have been tasked with securing high quality prizes and we along with staff and volunteers have been out and about selling tickets to friends, family, colleagues, and in fact anyone who will stop to listen to us. The target is high and we will have to work hard to reach it, and perhaps the most important outcome will not be the cash, but rather the awareness that we have raised amongst, and the new relationships that we have forged with, businesses and individuals who have donated prizes. We are all part of the same community and ultimately we benefit from working collaboratively and creatively to get our message across'.
So please, dig deep, and help our fantastic festival to be the best ever in 2018! BUY YOUR TICKET FOR JUST £1 HERE