The Seven Stories centre for children's books in Newcastle is to benefit from a £750,000 endowment donated by the Enid Blyton Trust for Children, following a decision to close the Enid Blyton Trust and donate its funds to one organisation.
Seven Stories will use the funding to support its "learning and participation projects" said chief executive Kate Edwards. "The Enid Blyton Trust funded work for children that improved their life opportunities and provided learning opportunities, especially for disadvantaged children. Seven Stories runs a number of programmes with schools and with children for whom books are not part of their home life and the funding will help support their costs."
Around half the organisation's funding is currently from public sources including Arts Council and Newcastle City Council. Edwards said: "Arts organisations are being encouraged to be less reliant on public sector funding and the endowment is a great help to move us in that direction. Though support from our public funders continues to be vital, our fundraising ambition is to grow our endowment to £5m, building a more secure future for Seven Stories."
The centre's work includes holding exhibitions at its home in Newcastle. It has recently launched an exhibition celebrating the life and work of former children's laureate Anthony Browne and will also open an exhibition of the new laureate's work in spring 2012 focusing on Julia Donaldson's work in the preschool sector. It will also host an exhibition about Jacqueline Wilson's work and creative writing this autumn.
As well as exhibitions, Seven Stories continues to build its collection of works by British writers and artists. It now has work from nearly 100 British writers and illustrators, including a number of Enid Blyton typecripts that it acquired last year including three Famous Five titles and typescripts for several Noddy stories and plays, making Seven Stories the largest public collector of Enid Blyton material.