The Horsfall

The Horsfall project was created by 42nd Street, an award-winning mental health charity with a 35 year track record.

It was inspired by a Victorian visionary - Thomas Horsfall. 

At the end of the 19th century Horsfall launched a unique social and artistic experiment - the Ancoats Art Museum. 

The museum created opportunities for the most disenfranchised in Manchester and aimed to help them experience beauty in their lives through art exhibitions, concerts, classes in woodwork and dressmaking as well as countryside rambles. 

42nd Street has updated this idea for the 21st century but the core aim remains the same. They plan to work with young people, professional artists and mental health professionals to create enthralling and powerful experiences. 

The big idea

Bring together young people, artists and mental health professionals to improve mental wellbeing. 

What happened

While 42nd Street receives funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Land Aid, they needed some help to make this project a reality. 

Unexpected renovation works soon stack up after all!

We spoke to project owner Rebecca Coughlan to find out why they decided to crowdfund: "A local group, The Ancoats Dispensary, had successfully crowdfunded to save their building and we were encouraged by the amazing local support to do the same." 

Rebecca explained why 42nd Street ultimately opted for Crowdfunder: "It wasn't as widely known as the other two options that we considered, but after doing research it seemed more aimed at UK crowdfunding and had a good reputation amongst both funders and backers. 

"This was very important to us, as being a charity we have to ensure the best possible ethics with those that we work with."

They set a target of £15,000 and over the next 28 days received £16,138 from 321 backers! 

The pledge rewards

Pledges ranged from £5 to £950, allowing people with all budgets to contribute to the cause. 

All of the rewards were very relevant to the artistic nature of the project, from colouring in books to limited edition laser cut jewellery. 

There was also original artwork, VIP launch party tickets, a pop-up dinner experience and the chance to hire the entire venue out. 

In the press

It will come as no surprise that the project attracted coverage from local press including Manchester Evening News and Mancunian Matters, both of which explored the heritage aspect of this project. 

What's next?

Rebecca told us what's next for The Horsfall: "We are currently renovating our Victorian building ready to launch in September 2016 with the crowdfunding money being used for internal decoration and finishing touches. 

"We will then begin our first year's programme of events including a sound instillation, immersive theatre, inventing a new ice cream, hosting regular drop in talks and events on a variety of subjects and much, much more!"

Tips to project owners

Rebecca's top two tips for future project owners are all about the social aspect of crowdfunding: 

Build your social media following: "This is the most vital aspect and one that we didn't have as much time as we would have liked on. 

Nearly 6000 people viewed our project and we had just under 400 backers, so you need to reach a very large audience because the majority of people won't pledge." 

Line up contacts: Get phone numbers, emails and contacts of local business and press lined up beforehand ready to ask for support. 

We left this until about half way through our project but had we done this sooner we would have been even more successful."

• Take a look at Rebecca's project page to find out more about The Horsfall