About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Synergy Dance: Getting Children and Teens Active

Synergy Dance offer a wide range of subsidised dance fitness classes, from ballroom to breakdancing, to children and teenagers. Synergy Dance started in 2014, with the aim of getting young people active in a fun and innovative way.  The company saw this was important because child obesity is on the rise and not all children like team sports and might prefer dance as a way to keep fit.

In February 2017, they successfully raised £5,115, including a £1,250 matched grant from Arts Council England. We spoke to Rachael Hurton to find out more:

Why did you decide to try crowdfunding

It’s a great way to share your campaign and to network, both with existing contacts and through new leads that are made. It also helps to reinforce to the public, and other organisations, that what you’re doing is worthwhile. Crowdfunding allows you to test the popularity of your ideas and ascertain if there’s a genuine need for what you’re offering.

For Synergy, knowing that people are with us and believe in our goals and ethos is brilliant, and means that we can now put our plans into action.

How is crowdfunding different from how you normally finance or fundraise for projects?

There is a much smaller window of time in which to raise the funds and social media can help you to promote your cause. You also find out very quickly if the fundraising project is going to reach the target. The Crowdfunder team are also very supportive during the process and offer invaluable seminars and pointers to incentivise and help you to get started.

What will you use the money for and what has happened since you hit your crowdfunding target?

The money will go towards subsidised dance classes for children and teens, our free provision of holiday workshops via council schemes, public performances at community events such as GoFest, and to increased provision for Special Educational Needs (SEN).

Since, reaching target, we have already arranged to run a series of free workshops over the Easter school holidays for the Guildford Borough Council’s FISH scheme (Fun In The School Holidays). We are working together to provide as much variety and fun as possible within our innovative dance workshops. The aim is to be inclusive and to reach all children.

We’re also hoping to provide local schools with lunchtime SEN dance sessions for children who would benefit from the extra attention. With the extra money we can also increase our provision of one-to-one support workers, and Guildford Borough Council have provided us with a list of suggested schools in Surrey.

What would be your top tips for others considering crowdfunding for arts project?

  • Have everything in place and ready in advance of the launch date.

  • Make sure you have allocated time to promote, network and campaign during the fundraising period.

  • If you can, hire or persuade a professional filmmaker to help you to state your case in your own way.

  • Make sure you have a clear plan of what you are trying to achieve, and that you’ve clearly stated the impact and benefit of your plans on your campaign page.

This blog is posted as part of a series in which we catch up with a number of the projects which were successfully matchfunded through our pilot programme. Read them all



Jonathan Bone

Jonathan Bone

Jonathan Bone

Mission Manager, healthy life mission

Jonathan works within Nesta Cymru (Wales), focusing on working across public, private and non-profit sectors to deliver innovative solutions that tackle obesity and loneliness in Wales.

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