Lancaster Friends Programme gives smaller groups a chance

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The Lancaster University Friends Programme has awarded funding to two LUSU organisations, the Student Media Team and an offshoot of the Theatre Group, aptly named ‘The Offshoots’.

‘The Offshoots’ are a group of students from the Theatre Group who have gained the £5,000 they required to organise a production that will be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for three weeks in August.

The Offshoots decided on the attempt after the Theatre Group’s proposed play did not manage to get into the festival, but when the group found that they needed around £7,000 in order to plan such a trip they looked for outside funding. After researching the Alumni Friends Programme a bid was made and they were awarded well over half the amount needed, with the rest being acquired through fundraising.

The company are performing an adapted version of Marlowe’s Dr Faustus, giving it a circus theme and concentrating on the theme of the seven deadly sins. According to one of the production team, Diana Winpenny, the money they have been awarded will allow them to make the rendition the way that they wanted.

“We’re planning on making the show visually spectacular by incorporating physical theatre and dance alongside classic theatre, and we are going all out with costumes and lights,” she said.

The money has also allowed for the setting up of a ‘Fringe Fund’ from any profit made from the production, meaning future productions from Lancaster will have less trouble financing such a trip.

The newly formed Student Media Team was awarded just over £6,000, which will be spent mostly on increasing LUSU’s coverage of live events. LUTube.TV will be gaining a new camera and new microphones, allowing live broadcasts to be of a higher quality and more easily set up.

There will also be new equipment purchased for Bailrigg FM in a bid to increase their audience further by enlarging the broadcast area across the University, utilising e-campus screens. They are gaining a new computer, with more powerful software to allow for a wider range of music to be played.

SCAN will also benefit from the grant, with a new computer, camera and dictaphone giving the team an increased ability to produce high-quality journalism.

The Friends Programme acquires their money through alumni, with small monthly or yearly donations making up a part of their fund. They also have a student-led phone service that contacts alumni for three weeks a year to gain pledges.

Twice a year a committee made up of 15 members is given a list of the proposed bids, of which there are usually around 40, and asked to rate each one based on their own opinions. When the meeting is held the members put forward these opinions and the funding is allocated. The committee grants up to £10,000 per bid, but tries to spread the money equally between bids where possible.

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