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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.

The Lost Treasures of St Sidwells

St Sidwell's Church in Exeter was bombed during the Exeter Blitz 75 years ago. The church's unique stained glass windows and two statues were rescued from the rubble, put into storage and forgotten about until their recent rediscovery.

The Lost Treasures of St Sidwells is a project to restore these lost treasures, and put them on display at St Sidwell’s Community Centre, now based in the old church, where they can be enjoyed by everybody. We asked Marie Leverett from the Community Centre about their crowdfunding journey.

Why did you decide to crowdfund?

Because we knew it was a great way to access match funds and raise public awareness of our fundraiser as well as providing an easy portal for collecting donations.

What do the funds raised mean for your project?  

It means we can now afford restoration work previously unaffordable and has given our community centre recognition and morale a boost from knowing so many people in the community were interested in supporting us.

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

It provides a focal point and focuses our efforts and attention in a public space. It's a good way of reaching beyond our usual audience since it is sharable and provides a good interface.

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

We will use the money for the restoration work of important local historic artefacts and to help create associated display material and events.

What would be your top tips for others considering crowdfunding?

Gather support before you press go. Put in the effort with a good story and video. Have some lovely prizes. Reach out to relevant groups outside of your normal circle of supporters.

This article was originally published on the Crowdfunder website.

Images from St Sidwell's Community Centre Crowdfunder video featuring Exeter's Patron Saint, Sidwella, and an illustration of C6th St Sidwell's Church by Richard Parker.


Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Peter Baeck

Director of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

Peter leads work that explores how combining human and machine intelligence can develop innovative solutions to social challenges.

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