A group of people standing in front of a statue

Aviva Community Fund // Norwich Puppet Theatre

September 20, 2017

‘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.

A group of people standing in front of a statue

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.

A person riding a skateboard up the side of a building

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

A close up of a map

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.

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