People give big to Norwich art organisations

More outdoor art activities and a production of a childhood favourite will be able to go ahead as thousands of pounds are raised for two of Norwich's top art organisations.

This week, people had the chance to double their money as every penny donated to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and the Puppet Theatre was set to be doubled as part of the Big Give Christmas Challenge appeal.

The two Norwich organisations were the only ones in Norfolk to be selected to be part of the nationwide challenge fund scheme.

In just five days, �3,744 was donated to Norwich's Puppet Theatre which will be doubled to make �7,488. The money will be put towards the theatre's next production, Little Red Riding Hood, and educational work linked with the show.

More than �2,890 was donated to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, doubled to make �5,780, which will help fund NF11 May Daze, a feast of street theatre, circus, music, dance and visual arts held during the festival.

Peter Beck, project manager at the Puppet Theatre, said: 'We've been very surprised with the uptake. It's amazing that when things are difficult for people, they have donated so much. It's been terrific.

'We will be able to take out the production of Little Red Riding Hood with workshops to local groups and schools and will be able to offer the production at the theatre at the great prices that we do here at the Puppet Theatre.'

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The Geoffrey Watling Charity donated �3,000 to the Puppet Theatre while other donations came from artists who use the theatre and members of the public.

Matthew Sanders, head of communications for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, said: 'It's the first time we've ever been part of the Big Give and we are delighted that lots of people contributed to the fund.

'It's great to see that people hold the festival in such high regard to donate their hard earned pennies and the money will go a long way to helping us with what we plan to do as part of the festival next year.'

The Big Give 2010 Christmas Challenge has helped raise more than �8m for 323 selected charities. Donations have been doubled by sponsors Arts & Business, Reed, Ethiopiaid , Candis and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Are you helping to raise funds for a Norwich cause? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email