Aviva Community Fund // Norwich Puppet Theatre

‘In association with Aviva Community Fund 2017

From an early age, I can always remember my mum getting involved with different community projects. From coming into my primary school, to helping out with activities, or being on hand to bake cakes for fundraisers and Christmas parties, heading down to the local community centre to chaperone events, getting involved in crafts or standing up with local residents about a cause that they were fighting – this community spirit has not been forgotten and is something that I wish to carry on and hopefully instil to my own children.

Whilst I’m not quite a dab hand in the kitchen like my mum, I try my best to help in other ways; from listening to the children read at the local school, assisting on school trips and supervising Roo’s Cub Scout group. Having worked in a Community Hospital I know first-hand just how important community donations and fundraising can be. And just how difficult it can be to raise those all-important funds. The Aviva Community Fund 2017 offers local community projects and causes the opportunity to apply for funding from up to £1,000 to £25,000 – which is a welcome boost to groups both small and large.

At the weekend, the children and I were lucky enough to witness first-hand just what a difference funding from the Aviva Community Fund can mean to a local community project.

Norwich Puppet Theatre

In 2016 The Norwich Puppet Theatre were awarded almost £5,000 from the Aviva Community Fund for their Voice of a Child work. The theatre is an excellent introduction to the magic of puppetry with original shows, activities, workshops, and masterclasses for all ages.

Situated inside a converted medieval church, the Theatre is one of only three building-based puppet theatres in England. Home to a family of puppets from the last 30 years, they produce new shows for families and children which play in Norwich before touring the UK and internationally. 

Norwich Puppet Theatre is dedicated to championing this special art form hosting shows and talent development masterclasses for theatre-makers, performers, and puppeteers.

Norwich Puppet Theatre // Dragon Puppet Workshop

The Norwich Puppet Theatre on Saturday put on a puppet workshop for the community, at The Forum, alongside a large-scale puppet display. The event marked the launch of the Aviva Community Fund 2017 and demonstrated how small things like a puppet, can with the right perspective, make a big difference to local communities.

The community group hosted a dragon puppet workshop, an opportunity for children (and adults alike) to create their very own dragon puppet, whilst learning about the different activities that the Norwich Puppet Theatre run throughout the year.

Roo and Tigger didn’t waste any time in getting stuck in (no glue pun intended) with creating their own dragons. With the help and guidance from the Norwich Puppet Theatre team, the children were guided through the marquee to different stations, with some all-important decisions to be made, from colour of their dragon to the array of decoration pieces available to turn it from paper cup to dragon.

With a simple step by step process to follow it even made me feel as though this was a craft that I could make at home with the children. After all, you can never have too many dragon puppets in your life. As the children were creating their puppets it gave me the opportunity to chat to some of the Norwich Puppet Theatre team about the different workshops and shows available with things happening all the way up to and including Christmas Eve. Whilst they are based in an old church in the heart of Norwich, their work takes them to a wide range of communities in the local area giving children from all backgrounds the opportunity to get involved, have their voices heard and build their confidence.

A big thank you to the Norwich Puppet Theatre team for their amazing dragon craft skills and of course, the Aviva Community Fund who make it possible for them to reach out to the community and provide activity workshops that are accessible to all.

Do you know a local project that needs funding?

For local projects, an ordinary thing can mean everything, but funding may be a challenge.

That’s where the Aviva Community Fund 2017 comes in, supporting good ideas making a real difference where it matters most.

Aviva is offering four funding levels, from up to £1,000 to £25,000. To apply for funding, just tell Aviva how your project will make a positive change in one of these categories:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Skills for life
  • Community support
  • Inclusivity

You’ll need votes to get your project to the finals, so start rallying friends, family and neighbours now! However, Aviva knows how much work it can take for volunteers in smaller projects to pull their entries together and rally voters.

Most smaller projects ask for funding up to £1,000, so to recognise all their hard work, Aviva will automatically give the first 200 projects to reach 1,000 votes in this funding level the funding they ask for. If you’re one of the lucky 200 projects, Aviva will let you know. If you’re not one of those 200 projects, you’re still in with a chance of winning your funding.

To get involved, submit a project or vote visit www.aviva.co.uk/community-fund. Entries opened on 12th September, closing dates for entries on 10th October 2017.



  1. September 20, 2017 / 3:50 pm

    It’s good to know that theatres are still being awarded funding in spite cuts left and right. Love that it also brings the community together. I do like puppets, even though admittedly when I was young, I found them a bit creepy!

  2. September 20, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    This is such a good initiative from Aviva – it’s so hard for local projects to get funding these days!

  3. September 20, 2017 / 11:17 pm

    What a fab initiative. having local theatres is so important and I would be sad to see ours go. It’s a great thing for the community.

  4. September 21, 2017 / 8:13 am

    What a fabulous idea, mine would love a puppet theatre. Getting my thinking cap on for something local

  5. September 21, 2017 / 8:31 am

    This is such a wonderful idea! Helping local community projects is so important – the puppet theatre looks like lots of fun! x

  6. September 21, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    What a fab idea! I think it is so important to support local communities. Loving the idea of a puppet workshop 🙂 x

  7. September 21, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    The Aviva community fund sounds like a really great initiative and glad to learn you experienced first hand the help and support it brought about.

  8. September 21, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    I didn’t know that Aviva ran a fund like this. What a great way to kick start a community initiative

  9. September 21, 2017 / 11:08 pm

    As an actress this has made me really happy. Theatres deserve funding! Children need to experience this and I love the puppet workshop x

  10. September 22, 2017 / 9:50 am

    This is a fab read! I think its fantastic that they are offering funding to these kinds of projects, especially as so many cultural avourites have had their funding cut!

  11. September 22, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    Local projects don’t receive any where near enough funding, so Aviva should definitely be applauded on this.

  12. September 22, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    My kids are so into puppets at the moment. They would love to create theirs.

  13. September 22, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    What a lovely event. My kids are so into puppets at the moment. They would love to create theirs too.

  14. September 22, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    what a fab looking event – this sort of thing is right up my street

  15. September 22, 2017 / 10:40 pm

    Wow what a brilliant project to receive funding. My son would have loved that workshop as he loves dragons!

  16. September 23, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    What a fantastic project and the workshops look like fun! Definitely a well-deserved use of funding

  17. September 23, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    That workshop looks fun. I’ve heard about this aviva fund before. It’s a great idea

  18. September 24, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    Your mum sounds like a wonderful woman and it is great that you have both have different strengths when supporting community initiatives. The aviva community fund sounds wonderful x

  19. stephanie
    September 29, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    Your mum sounds amazing. Looks like such a fab event! x

  20. October 1, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    That looks great and such a worthwhile cause. Community grants can make such a difference to local projects.

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