SEVEN Stories is seeking a happy ending by urging supporters to propel it to victory with their votes in a prestigious national competition.
The Newcastle-based national centre for children’s books is shortlisted in the education category of the National Lottery Awards, which annually reward the most successful and popular recipients of lottery funding.
Seven Stories, which opened in 2005, was among some 900 projects and organisations considered by the judges.
Staff are hoping to emulate Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, in Gateshead, which last year won in the arts category.
Each of the winners in seven categories related to the lottery-supported good causes will receive £2,000.
But the popular backing is the main incentive, as Seven Stories chief executive Kate Edwards explained.
“These things mean a lot because it’s the people who use and enjoy us and feel strongly enough and passionate enough to cast their votes,” she said.
“It’s not the financial amount but the support of the public and the fact that the work we do can be publicly celebrated that’s important.”
Seven Stories has received £660,000 in lottery funding from Arts Council England and £352,249 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It welcomes over 70,000 visitors a year and attracts some of the biggest names in children’s literature to work with them to stage exhibitions and events.
Seven Stories also cares for the only collection in the world that tells the story of modern British children’s literature.
Kate Edwards said lots of people had already voted for Seven Stories whose fans, increasingly, are to be found outside the North East. Three of its exhibitions are currently being enjoyed elsewhere, with those dedicated to Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Browne and Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson on in Hull, Leeds and Birmingham respectively.
Another Seven Stories exhibition, Moving Stories, co-curated with the National Media Museum in Bradford, looks at how children’s books have been adapted for the screen.
That exhibition will open at Seven Stories in Newcastle after its run in Yorkshire.
Currently delighting visitors to Seven Stories are exhibitions dedicated to Cressida Cowell, creator of How To Train Your Dragon, and Enid Blyton, which Kate Edwards said had been popular with people of all ages.
“Enid still has the pulling power,” she said. “It is really nice to see lots of children enjoying and discovering stories about Noddy or the Magic Faraway Tree.”
You can vote for Seven Stories in the National Lottery Awards on the website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk (click on Awards).
Voting closes at midnight next Wednesday so one final push could clinch it.
These things mean a lot as it’s the people who use and enjoy us and feel strongly enough to vote