Meet the Armley woman drawing on her own struggles to help creatives and artists in Leeds

Linda-Ray, 23, lives in Armley and is the driving force behind the New Age Fundraiser, an annual event designed to support creative talent within the city.

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The 2022 edition will be hosted on 11 June at The Holbeck, a social club which is home to award-winning theatre company Slung Low.

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Linda-Ray Ndlovu is helping creatives in Leeds. Credit: Linda-Ray Ndlovu

The event will feature performances from the likes of dancers, actors, musicians and stand-up comedians, meanwhile there will also be pop-up food and drink stalls and shops.

“All the money that all the pop up shops make that day selling their products goes to them and their business,” explained Linda-Ray. “All the money that we make from the ticket sales goes to paying the photographers and videographers so that we can present the artists and creatives with images and videos for their portfolios as well.”

First hosted last year, the idea was inspired by Linda-Ray’s struggles as a young rapper trying to make her way into the spotlight.

“It was sparked by my own struggles as an artist and a creative trying to actually make money off that,” said Linda-Ray. “It was very difficult. There was obviously not a lot of jobs going for gigs because a lot of places that do host gigs were shut down [due to the Covid-19 pandemic].

“The main gap was that a lot of artists and creatives didn’t have photographs and videos of things they had previously done in order to try and get some jobs online.

“That’s why I made it a big thing that we get from photography and videography so that people do have the stuff to submit online because everything kind of changed and became about online portfolios.”

After organising a fundraising comedy night for herself and her partner, then a comedian, she decided to start working for the benefit of artists all over Leeds.

“I decided to extend this to other people as well, not just myself and to the artists within my circles,” she said.

“I reached out to local artists and creators, dancers, local businesses, and just people that I knew who were trying to just make some money after the second lockdown, and put on anything in the space.

“I got in contact with Slung Low and just said we were going to put on a fundraiser if they could just help us with motion and advertising. Basically, we showcase a bunch of creators and artists from dancers to stand-up comedians for the whole night.”

Throwing her support behind creative minds in Leeds is something Linda-Ray also does in her role as a drama teacher at a performing arts school.

She is confident the New Age Fundraiser will continue on an annual basis and tickets for the 2022 event are on sale now.

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