On a mission to tour their interactive drama workshop and teach online safety to over 1,000 primary school children, Barking & Dagenham based ‘Arc’ raised £9,444 from 66 supporters to spread the word.

With a 30 year history of creating original theatre and drama-based educational programmes, Arc’s newest performance programme, Broadcast Junior, is no exception. Offering interactive drama and multimedia sessions to school children aged between 9 and 11, their powerful performance programme is designed to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable young people and prevent digital misuse and exposure to online abuse and exploitation.

Theresa, Communications Manager at Arc, said, Arc’s Broadcast Junior programme is important because young people need to take responsibility for their choices and behaviours, particularly when it comes to personal safety. They are using technology at increasingly early ages, and by understanding the dangers surrounding internet and technology misuse, including cyberbullying, sexting, online predators and grooming, children are educated to choose healthy lifestyles and engage in positive relationships. We know that using drama has a unique way of engaging people on difficult issues, so Broadcast Junior is a perfect vehicle for getting messages across in a way that lectures and textbooks can’t.”

Evolving from Broadcast, the senior school version of the programme that was first created in 2013,  Broadcast Junior came about as discussions revealed that the age of exposure to the issues appeared to be lowering across the Borough, with many reported incidents occurring prior to secondary school. Each young person to participate in the one-hour interactive drama-based workshop is therefore encouraged to engage in self-care digital awareness and open, honest communication about the issues that could be involved.

It was clear from the get go that Broadcast Junior was a hit as it started successfully touring primary schools in the London Borough of Havering, but the team behind the initiative needed to raise another £6,000 in order to tour the programme to further primary schools in Barking & Dagenham – reaching their target of 1,200 children. But why crowdfunding?

Theresa added, We’ve never used a crowdfunding platform before and were looking for new ways to secure funding and reach more audiences in our community with our awareness work, so when the Barking & Dagenham Community Fund was promoted, we decided it would be a perfect fit!”

Truly supporting younger generations in taking personal responsibility for their lifestyle choices, the crowdfund saw tremendous support. The combination of the unwavering support of the crowd alongside an additional two extra funding pledges saw Arc raise an amazing total of £9,444 towards their endeavour. The project received a pledge from Barking & Dagenham’s Community Fund for local projects that benefit the community, and another from the Santander Changemaker Fund,  which supports social innovation in communities nationwide.

Following the success of their crowdfunding project, Theresa commented that, The money raised enabled us to deliver 20 sessions of Broadcast Junior to eight schools, reaching approximately 1,800 children (mostly aged 7 to 11) across the Borough.  We originally hoped to reach 1,200 children, so the extra funding helped us to increase this by another 50%, which we were delighted to do! As a community-focussed organisation, it was extremely rewarding to turn the financial support received from our friends, associates, colleagues and partners directly into educational workshops for the children of the community.”

And Theresa’s top tip to others thinking of crowdfunding? “Don’t think your project isn’t big or important enough! We really weren’t sure how ours would run, but the support flooded in which really amazed us!  Go for it!”

If you have a community based project or social enterprise and are looking to crowdfund, then you could also be eligible for extra funding. Find out more about the funds we have on offer and get in touch today.