Livestock and cattle sellers Hexham and Northern Marts has been announced as the first winner of a corporate arts philanthropy award, for its support for Northumberland-based performing arts organisation November Club.
In June, the Achates Philanthropy Foundation announced the new award to celebrate a company that has supported the arts for the first time over the past year.
The Hexham and Northern Marts had agreed for November Club to host a performance of its musical Beyond the End of the Road in its venue free of charge, allowing the company to engage with audiences largely from a farming and agriculture background.
November Club has now received a £5,000 donation from the Achates Philanthropy Foundation, which will be allocated towards remounting the musical Beyond the End of the Road at other auction marts across the region.
Hexham and Northern Marts was presented with a sculpture by Peter Brooke-Ball.
Cinzia Hardy, artistic director of November Club, said: “There’s a need for some inventive thinking about how we, as arts organisations, can work with potential sponsors as well as the ways in which potential sponsors can support culture.
“Our musical Beyond the End of the Road is inspired by the stories of hill sheep farmers in rural Northumberland so approaching Hexham Auction Mart, where farmers come to sell and buy livestock made perfect sense. I am absolutely thrilled they have won this award, this is a wonderful thank you to them.”
The corporate philanthropy prize is an extension of the foundation’s individual philanthropy prize, which was launched in 2016 to celebrate individuals that support the arts.
Claire and Ray Gard have been announced as the winners of this year’s individual prize for their support of the Plough Arts Centre in north Devon, which hosts film, live events, exhibitions, workshops and educational outreach events. The couple established a bursary, totalling £675, to give three local young people the chance to attend the Plough Youth Theatre.
The Plough Arts Centre has now received a £5,000 donation from the Achates Philanthropy Foundation, which will be used to create a bursary fund to support more young people to attend the Plough Youth Theatre. The Gards were also presented with a sculpture by Brooke-Ball.
Richard Wolfenden-Brown, director of the Plough Arts Centre, said: “The Plough Arts Centre has thrived for 42 years, but this is the first time we’ve ever won a national award – and we hope it won’t be the last. Claire and Ray Gard’s generous gift will inspire others to do likewise, and make arts more accessible to even more young people across North Devon”.
Founder of the prize Caroline McCormick added: “In challenging times, these arts charities and their supporters are leading the way in establishing inspiring new models of support that are relevant and accessible to organisations of all sizes and in all locations, illustrating that culture is an asset that belongs to us all.”