The Complete Freedom of Truth

Bringing together young people of diverse backgrounds through the arts was the aim of Bridport-based project The Complete Freedom of Truth.

The international youth residency had a vision of helping youngsters from different cultures find better ways of living and communicating with each other.

So it turned to the Crowd to help launch phase two of its five-year campaign.

And thanks to a unique partnership between Crowdfunder and Dorset County Council, it was awarded an extra £2,000 of local government funding in the process.

In 45 days, 78 backers inspired by a series of stunning art and design-based rewards had pledged to help bridge a £20,000 shortfall in funding for The Complete Freedom of Truth's (TCFT) two-week arts residency.

From paintings to poetry, dance to theatre, parkour to circus skills, filmmaking to TV and radio, 100 youngsters from eight countries came together to promote global empathy, understanding and truth.

The 13-26-year-olds from places including Bosnia, Georgia, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Serbia were led by 30 professional artists, producers and cultural leaders.

It culminated in a groundbreaking performance at Bournemouth University exploring democracy, gender, migration and human rights.

But it was the Dorset County Council’s partnership with Crowdfunder – #CrowdfundDorset that made the difference to the revolutionary project.

The council has £200,000 ring-fenced to fund inspired community projects which give youngsters places to go and things to do.

Thanks to Crowdfunder, the council has been able to start distributing that money, and TCFT was one of the first to benefit.

"The extra funding helped immensely," says Fabio Santos, fundraiser and arts consultant for TCFT.

"We learned through Crowdfunder that extra funding was available from the county council. 

"We then set up our project, applied for funding, and the council loved it and decided to support it. The £2,000 made a significant contribution to our project. 

"TCFT is expensive, because there are so many artists and young people involved, and the funding we raised through Crowdfunder and the council, and the marketing advice we got, really helped us tell the public about the project."

TCFT came about through Opera Circus, a theatre-based charity launched by Tina Lee to help youngsters in the aftermath of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995.

She worked tirelessly to help young Bosnians come to terms with the genocide that had claimed the lives of more than 9,000 Muslims through workshops and exchange visits.

Tina was determined to develop a project involving wider European countries, and TCFT was born.

In a world of division, of cultural differences, of religious tensions, the aim of TCFT was to promote tolerance, to build a better world.

"The most important thing we did was to build a sense of understanding of each other, and by doing that, understanding ourselves," adds Fabio, who hails from Brazil.

"We're about building a sense of tolerance and kindness. We don't live in a kind world. 

"It sounds cheesy, but during the two weeks we rehearse a different way of living that's beyond religion and culture, so that we can coexist and collaborate and confront the challenges we face."

With shrinking central and local government funding for the arts, Fabio says working with Crowdfunder is the future, particularly when extra funding is available.

"I've been working in fundraising for many years now and the crowdfunding system is the way forward," Fabio says.

"And because we've been able to teach the young people how to raise money through Crowdfunder to sustain their work... It's worked really, really well for us. It's the future."

The council is aiming to turn its £200,000 into £1m with the help of the crowd - to help 67,000 young people across the county.

Council Chief Executive Debbie Ward said, "Crowdfunder is a new and exciting way for us to help unlock incredible ideas and potential for our communities, and make a real difference for people in Dorset."