It’s far too long since I blogged and gosh what a lot has happened since the last entry! As most people know, we moved into new premises in September 2012 after failed negotiations to take over the old Olympic Hall at the Paint Works (Haltwhistle Enterprise Park *cough). Originally, we had intended to enter into a lease to create an exhibition centre and artists studios. Nothing has changed on that. At Scarth’s Yard (an old builder’s yard on Westgate) we have taken over the entire property and now have a gallery, shop, workshops and enough space to house artists and small businesses working in the creative sector! It’s an ambitious project and we are well aware of the uphill struggle ahead but as any new social enterprise business will tell you, it will be worth the struggle!
We immediately revamped the old offices to create a gallery and workspace (for our drop in artists) and a shop where we sell local arts, crafts and art supplies. We are also agents for Castle Framers in Brampton, so save a trip and drop off your framing with us.
In the gallery, we were fully stocked immediately and have a waiting list. The artists rent a space in the gallery at £10 per month and we don’t take any commission! What a deal! Sales have been really good since we opened – much better than we had forecasted and daily visitors have risen steadily from 20 a day to over 50 a day now. Every day we have new visitors.
The results of moving to these new premises, is a dramatic increase in young people joining our workshops. We have been very fortunate to receive funding from Sherburn House Charity to fund one of our after school groups and are optimistic that our pending applications will further help us to expand our outreach programme. Four of our young people are working on a Keyfund project and are about to pitch their project to a panel for £250 to launch their own art club. We also started children’s parties.
Exciting times! We are always looking for people to help us. Do you have time available? Please join our ever increasing list of volunteers and become part of one of the biggest community projects that Haltwhistle has ever seen!