Chairman’s Report for the Year 2017
2017 has been a really busy and productive year for hArt.
We have settled in well to our new home at South Efford House, and set up a number of new programmes and projects.
The adults’ drop-in sessions, which started in April and were held for the first six months at Pennington WI Hall, have now transferred to the Lymington Cricket Club premises just off Southampton Road, Lymington, where they are continuing to run every Wednesday, from 10.30-12.30. Everyone is welcome to come along, and you can stay for as long as you like through the two hours.
Our children’s art therapy programme, funded by Children in Need and Safer Dorset, ran this summer over twelve weeks, ending with an outing which was much enjoyed by all involved. The programme was an after-school session for children affected by domestic violence and was held in Bournemouth with two art therapists and a family support worker. The aims were to give children, aged five to seven years, ways to self-express, gain confidence and improve interaction with their peers. The programme was well received, and the parents and teachers involved all reported much-improved levels of self-esteem, communication and self-expression, with parents and children working together on some pieces of artwork. We expect to be able to offer this programme again in other locations when funding allows.
Our WAX programme for women also started this September, and continues to offer a creative workshop for women to celebrate diversity, and to support one another, especially those who have come to this country from other parts of the world. Creativity crosses boundaries of language, colour and beliefs and should be celebrated. The sessions take place in Bournemouth, in a quiet location, and offer complete privacy. Details are available through hArt for those who may want to attend.
hArt has been present at a number of events throughout the summer. We were delighted to be at the first ever Lymington Seafood Festival over a glorious weekend in August, and enjoyed meeting lots of people, and making several hundred paper fish! We held a raffle to help boost our funds as well as those of the Blue Marine Foundation, and enjoyed the sunshine along with thousands of visitors.
We also had stands at the Lymington Rotary Club Summer Spectacular and the Pennington Fair.
Our charity partner, Coastal Gallery of Lymington, again held a spectacular exhibition at ArtSway throughout Hampshire Open Studios in August. Once again, Coastal Gallery artists donated artworks for the benefit of hArt who raffled the pieces over the fortnight and this brought in over £1,500, a truly magnificent total. We are very grateful to Coastal Gallery and all those artists for their continuing support.
We ran four shadow puppet workshops in June under the New Forest Arts Festival banner; three in junior schools across the area, and one at Forest Arts, New Milton. These were great fun, and we worked with around one hundred and thirty people over those four days.
We also, as part of the Festival, travelled around the area in partnership with Forest Forge Theatre, using their bus, to offer the Travelling Tree of Life at various venues including schools and libraries. People were encouraged to add their memories and hopes of the Forest to a leaf which was then added to the Tree. Around two hundred and fifty leaves were collected, and these then added to the Tree Charter exhibition. For this, hArt built another tree, standing from floor to ceiling at the New Forest Centre, where more leaves have been added by visitors to the exhibition which runs until 14th January, 2018. The hArt tree has caused a great deal of comment, and looks wonderful, beautifully decorated and hand-built! It is a tribute to the skills of Fran Lazarski, Juliet Freedman, Sue Allen and Mags Butterworth that it looks so impressive and continues to draw excitement and comment.
Two supporters undertook tough challenges to raise money for hArt this year. Terry Parsons trained hard and took on the Bournemouth Triathlon on a grey Sunday in August, and raised a fantastic £813 for hArt. Sarah Milligan and her lovely daughter, Ellie, ran the Color Run in Brighton and raised £210 for us, which was a such a wonderful result. We are so grateful to our friends and supporters, and always in awe of what they achieve on our behalf. Special thanks to Terry, Sarah and Ellie for such amazing totals.
We were grateful to receive £1,000 from the Loggia Italia – and grateful to Immediate Past Master, Joe (Giuseppe) Simonini. He has been a supporter from our launch in 2014 and is always interested in hArt’s progress and work.
Once again, we were supported by Waitrose, Lymington through their green token scheme and raised the splendid sum of £540. Many thanks to all who made sure that their green tokens went into the hArt box!
We also received £195 from Hays Travel in Lymington, who ran a coffee morning and raffle for hArt’s benefit, and we are very grateful to them for their efforts on our behalf. Having a presence on the High Street in Lymington made hArt more visible, which was an exciting opportunity for us.
We held a wonderful drumming circle in September at Buckland Rings, Lymington, the Iron Age site on the edge of the town. Working with Richard Parker of Active Arts, Southampton, we had a group of thirty people, aged seven to seventy-four, all thoroughly enjoying the fun of making some great sounds in a unique setting. We will be running more of these in the coming year, bringing people together both indoors and out.
We were asked to offer an activity as part of a day being run by Hampshire Cultural Trust in Winchester for CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) professionals. Teacher and artist, Hilary Ball, ran a print workshop, with Annie assisting, where people could make silk-screen printed cards, a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxing and colourful process.
During the year, we have continued to build new relationships with a number of organisations and individuals, and it has been a real step forward in having Francesca Lazarski join the team in the Spring. She brings much experience to the role of Community Development Co-ordinator, having worked previously at Hangar Farm in Totton, Turner Sims and the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton, and Southampton Libraries Service. We are really fortunate to have her with us, and look forward to developing the many contacts she has already made as we go into 2018.
We close the year with two new Trustees on the Board – Marilyn Freedman and Sue White. Emma Simonini, who has been a Trustee for our initial three years, is stepping down but remaining a strong supporter. Our Trustees all give their time to ensuring that the charity is properly run, which covers everything from fundraising and financial management, to making certain that all the requirements, from insurance to DBS checks, contracts and agreements are in place and current. It is a big and demanding task, but we have a considerable breadth of skills now amongst the Board members and that, with specialist input from several Consultants, gives the charity a solid foundation. We are also very fortunate to have Margaret Butterworth as our Honorary Treasurer, who manages the finances on a day-to-day level and who ensures that all the information is available whenever needed for the Trustees. These unpaid posts are extremely important, and I would personally like to thank all of the volunteers who support hArt at all levels for their enthusiasm and ongoing interest.
2018 promises to be every bit as exciting as 2017. There are plans to start a mini Roadshow, taking workshops out to locations in collaboration with another local charity to reach places that are less easy to access. We also look to continue working in Dorset, and hope to start some projects in Wiltshire as the year goes on. We will continue our adults’ drop-in group as long as we have funding, and are looking forward to working with students from local colleges on an outdoor project as the New Year starts, and hope that this will develop into a longer project when we have funding in place. We expect to offer community programmes and workshops for a wider audience, as well as continuing to work with therapists to provide group and one-to-one work where required.
We also look forward to hearing from more therapists and facilitators, artists and makers, as we expand our range of activities to appeal to audiences of all ages and abilities.
Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2018, and Seasons’ Greetings as we approach this festive time of year.