Backstage at The Lowry: Gwen Oakden, Head of Development

Gwen Oakden at the launch of Right Here Right Now.
Gwen Oakden at the launch of Right Here Right Now.

My role is to oversee the Lowry’s fundraising department. Not many people know that The Lowry is a registered charity, and as well as showing amazing productions in our 3 theatres and mounting fabulous art exhibitions (as well as looking after the biggest public collection of artworks by LS Lowry in the world) we also work with more than 35,000 people from our local communities every year and run great artist development programmes through our studio spaces.

In a nutshell? We’re mega busy and need to raise money to keep making a difference to all those people’s lives. No pressure then…

My amazing team raise money in a number of ways. We run schemes for individuals to join like our members and patrons schemes, we run a corporate scheme for companies to join, we seek sponsorships and donations, we write trust and foundations applications and we devise and deliver campaigns and appeals like our fabulous Christmas Appeal we run every year (that the whole organisation gets involved with). We also organise loads of amazing fundraising events all year round- we even run a charity golf day!

We run marathons (no…really, we do!), organise cake sales, take part in sponsored zip wires – you name it, we do it. And we do it all because we really believe in The Lowry and the work we do- as do our supporters (who are lovely, by the way).

It’s the best feeling in the world when you secure funds to enable something to happen that you know will have such a huge impact. It’s what keeps us going through all those late nights and when we have to have sandwiches for dinner. Although having said that the staff canteen here at The Lowry is one of the best bits of working here…the best chips in Salford!