We held our first annual donor Thank You event on Tue 30 June, where our donors were given a deeper insight into Watershed and the opportunity to learn more about the impact of their support. They met Watershed staff, artists in residence and some of the young people we work with.
Highlights included sharing stories from across Watershed, with Clare Reddington our Creative Director interviewing previous artists in residence Stand + Stare about their time in the Pervasive Media Studio, our Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove sharing news on the highlights of this year’s cinema programme, and our Engagement Producer Hannah Brady talking with Rife journalist Yero Timi-Biu and Future Producer Jon Aitken about their experiences.
The new Chair of our Board James Touzel shared the reasons why he has chosen to donate and support our work. His answer? There were four things: the impact Watershed has locally, nationally and internationally, our sustainability, the strength of the whole team and the care we put into everything.
He also shared news of the relaunch of our Cinema seat sponsorship scheme, with the first seat sponsored by Helen Taylor for her partner, Derrick Price, who was Chair of the Watershed Board for 17 years. It was originally launched ten years ago, and individuals like Aardman’s David Sproxton and actor and presenter Tony Robinson have their names on plaques in Cinema 3.
Finally, our Managing Director Dick Penny emphasised that Watershed is a mission driven organisation and he provided context on the funding environment. We heard that the arts is not a protected area as the government seek to reduce expenditure, and Watershed has worked hard to cut costs, increase efficiency and develop income.
As was mentioned on several occasions at the Thank You event, every gift, large or small, has an impact on the work we do. With the future of public funding becoming more and more unclear, individual donations are becoming increasingly more valuable, particularly as they give us the freedom to make the choices we feel are most important without restrictions.
Dick highlighted that our fundraising priority for this coming year is supporting young people (we have raised over £40,000 thus far).
Through donations we will continue to create pathways for young people so they can release their creative talents. Last night donors got a chance to meet Jon Aitken, a former young journalist for Rife Magazine who has gone on to work for Pervasive Media Studio residents and adventurous app creators Daredevil. They also met Yero Timi-Biu, one of our current cohort of Rife content creators who spoke about how she has grown so much by finding her voice and increasing her confidence in telling stories with us.
Thank you to all of our donors (who are now listed on our Supporters page) for helping us to continue realising the amazing potential of young people like Jon and Yero across the city. We will be sharing the impact this giving has had in this area in the year to come.